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Letters to the Editor
 

Stickin' with the union


Tom Elmore November 23rd, 2011

The back-alley freight transfer line and ramp discussed in “Spur of the moment” (News, Clifton Adcock, Nov 2, Oklahoma Gazette) compares to OKC Union Station’s lamented, 12-track-wide, 8-block-long rail plant and its direct, metro and statewide rail connections only insofar as an outhouse might be compared to the White House.

Unfortunately, however, it’s just about all that the local Philistines and their legions of sycophantic “yes” men, puppet politicians and bureaucrats have left to offer us.

We who spent 15 years of our lives fighting for Union Station well understood that, without it, a real, comprehensive, regional rail system would be impossible in our lifetimes.

We also understood that its destruction was being plotted by the state Department of Transportation and those behind city and state political leadership, precisely because its reuse could have made the best new transit start in the West immediately possible at very low cost.

Union Station was not destroyed because it “interfered with the Crosstown.” The “New Crosstown,” to the contrary, was deliberately routed through Union Station to prevent cheap and effective development of non-highway transportation options for the people of the region.

These inescapable truths are now apparently finally beginning to dawn on even politically correct/bureaucrat-acceptable latecomers like Marion Hutchison and Bob Kemper.

Worse yet, it should be remembered that the Union Station terminal building was given to OKC by the federal government in 1989, via a mere $1.2 million mass transit grant.

That’s right: OKC got it “for nothing,” fully restored by a previous owner. ODOT is now charging us all probably a billion-and-a-half dollars to destroy its usefulness.

After all, ODOT “statesmen” Neal McCaleb, Gary Ridley, David Streb and John Bowman had pronounced it “worth zero.” Now let the mad scramble begin for the billion-or-so new dollars and many years of precious time that will inevitably be required to attempt its replacement — not that it can ever actually be replaced — just as Union Station’s defenders warned for more than 15 years.

The unnecessary destruction of the Union Station rail yard with its magnificent, arterial-street underpasses; elegant, underground passenger and express-freight access to three passenger platforms; and endless room for expansion, was a bold, deliberate crime. ODOT and its bosses should be held accountable for this crime, since they were the willing tool by which it was treacherously carried out.

As to the rest of it, you can “mark it down in your little black book” that Bricktown is no place for a regional rail and bus transportation hub.

—Tom Elmore
Moore

Oklahoma Gazette provides an open forum for the discussion of all points of view in its Letters to the Editor section. The Gazette reserves the right to edit letters for length and clarity. Letters can be mailed, faxed, emailed to rlott@okgazette.com or sent online at okgazette.com, but include a city of residence and contact number for verification.

 
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11.30.2011 at 02:43 Reply

Amen to all that Tom Elmore has written.  The deliberate and wanton destruction of the Union Station rail yard was corrupt and pigheaded on the part of ODOT.  It was a serious crime of omission on the part of a wide range of state officials who could have lifted a finger to prevent it.  It was heartbreaking for those who saw the rail yard's immense potential and the impossibility of replacing it. 

It is not just Oklahoma City that suffers from the outrage, but our whole state transportation infrastructure --undeveloped passenger rail, inadequate freight rail, crowded highways, etc. 

If Oklahoma history is written with an honest pen, the destruction of the Union Station rail yard will be described as nothing less than barbaric. The consequences will burden our lives and damage our economy for decades.

 

11.30.2011 at 02:43 Reply

Amen to all that Tom Elmore has written.  The deliberate and wanton destruction of the Union Station rail yard was corrupt and pigheaded on the part of ODOT.  It was a serious crime of omission on the part of a wide range of state officials who could have lifted a finger to prevent it.  It was heartbreaking for those who saw the rail yard's immense potential and the impossibility of replacing it. 

It is not just Oklahoma City that suffers from the outrage, but our whole state transportation infrastructure --undeveloped passenger rail, inadequate freight rail, crowded highways, etc. 

If Oklahoma history is written with an honest pen, the destruction of the Union Station rail yard will be described as nothing less than barbaric. The consequences will burden our lives and damage our economy for decades.

 

 
 
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