ngs have their own whistles. Hill is now the only air logistics center in the nation with oil-crisis-proof workforce mobility.”
But not Oklahoma, he said.
“The same guy, while he was funding that, was funding the Crosstown so Union Station would be destroyed ” and don’t ever believe that he had anything other than that in mind,” Elmore said.
Istook did not return calls for comment.
Union Station ” its rail yard slated for destruction because it lies in the path of the proposed Crosstown ” was once the center of a massive commuter rail system in Oklahoma City that provided passenger service to Tinker, Norman, Edmond, Bethany and other surrounding communities. The easements and even lines for these still exist, but Elmore said the rail hub at Union Station will be wiped out by the Crosstown if it is allowed to proceed. However, ODOT’s Perry said a single rail line will be brought into Union Station should commuters wish to use it as a rail stop.
But now, Elmore said, there is a chance to reverse the destruction of the Union Station rail yard. Elmore said the ruling concerning the rail line has an effect similar to that of the movement to save the Walnut Avenue Bridge. That bridge, from Deep Deuce to Bricktown, was slated for destruction until civic activists opposed it in hearings at the Oklahoma Corporation Commission. Now, the bridge is considered a vital link between new, upscale loft apartments and Bricktown’s establishments.
“Remember the Walnut Bridge? We didn’t fight it before the council, we didn’t fight it before the planning commission ” we took it to the Corporation Commission because that’s where the fight was,” Elmore said. “Well, same thing here. We quit arguing with them, we took it to the STB, because that’s where the fight was, and that is where the fight’s been won.”
As for BNSF, the company’s release states that it intends to continue seeking to destroy the rail line in question so the Crosstown can go through.
“BNSF will be following up with the Surface Transportation Board to ensure the highway project’s objectives are met,” the company wrote. “BNSF emphasizes that service to area shippers has been and will continue to be uninterrupted by this or any subsequent trackage removal activity associated with the I-40 relocation project.”
John Bowman, ODOT Crosstown development engineer, said the ruling affects little work so far.
“There isn’t any work that is ongoing at the moment that is really predicated on that hearing,” Bowman said. “We have a number of projects ongoing and we are working with those contractors.