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July 15, 2013

BLOG: Send in the trains

CHICKASHA — State Representative David Perryman wants to advance mass transit in the state of Oklahoma, hallelujah.

When I moved here a year ago that was one thing that seemed to be lacking. People are spread out in Oklahoma, so a rail system that connects the three largest cities in the state seems like a no brainer.

I've talked to numerous people from various cities who do business on a regular basis in Lawton, Tulsa or Oklahoma City. All seemed shared a similar sentiment; the voyage is irritating.

Recently I came up with a way to combat this nuisance. I figured building adjacent lanes on all highways that allow for speeds up to 100 mph, and are specifically for long distance travel would be a good idea. Brilliant right? Thankfully a friend pointed out some obvious flaws in my revolutionary plan. I think Perryman's high-speed rail plan may be a bit more thought out than my American Autobahn.

The infrastructure is already there. The state owns a rail system that would effectively complete the task of connecting the three cities, so startup cost would be less than most state projects.

Plus the benefits are endless. It's a time saver, combats high gas prices, fosters economic growth, promotes state pride and increases potential tourism.

About 10 years ago Dallas Area Rapid Transit installed a light rail system that essentially connected outer Dallas to the downtown area. As of now, the system reaches close to 30 miles out in each direction from the heart of the city.

Oklahoma could see something similar over the next decade. It starts with connecting the cities, continues with the addition of sub-stations in smaller county seats and ends with the creation of multiple stops in Lawton, Oklahoma City and Tulsa.

Cheap, affordable transit that connects me to people across the state; I'd pay a little more in taxes to get this train rolling.

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