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Letters to the Editor
 

On the wrong track?


Edwin Kessler November 23rd, 2011

The “Spur of the moment” article in the Nov. 2 Gazette contains an important misleading statement, though concerns expressed in the article for preservation of a rail spur now scheduled for transfer from the state Department of Transportation to Union Pacific are well-justified.

The indication that the loss of the Union terminal in Oklahoma City occurred as a result of its interference with the proposed Interstate 40 Crosstown Expressway is seriously misleading. Purchase of OKC’s Union terminal for less than $2 million as a future rail hub was endorsed in a 1989 letter signed by Neal McCaleb, then director of ODOT.

In February 1999, a memo by then OKC Director of Planning Garner Stoll decried the plan then proposed for directing the future I-40 through the rail yard, thus destroying the transportation utility of the Union terminal building. Stoll indicated that the proposed route was the most expensive of several alternatives, which he outlined and for one of which he urged approval.

The result: Stoll’s position was defunded, and he left for Parker, Colo., a suburb of Denver. He now has a principal planning position in Austin, Texas.

Also in 1999, there was an OKC citizens update committee for transportation planning, but its categorical rejection of ODOT’s proposal to route the new highway through the rail yard was undermined by the Oklahoma City Council.

Presently, the Association of Central Oklahoma Governments is leading new planning for future transportation, but an economical transportation future for Oklahoma has been stolen from the people of Oklahoma by dark forces in Oklahoma City.

The history of this situation leads to doubts about the true intent of our transportation leadership.

—Edwin Kessler
Norman

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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