Regional Transportation Authority looks to connect metro cities through transit

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OKLAHOMA CITY - With new transportation additions to the downtown area, local leaders are now looking to the future with hopes to connect six metro cities.

“I’d really enjoy it if we could hop on a train, ride down here, take our friends down and just kind of enjoy the ride and see the city,” said Dwyatt Jackson, who lives in the metro area.

Wednesday morning, six local mayors from Edmond, Oklahoma City, Moore, Norman, Del City and Midwest City signed an agreement forming the regional transportation authority-- with one goal, to connect the cities through public transit.

“This is 10 years in the making and it will take at least that long before anybody can see anything tangible. But all of this planning is necessary and this is definitely a major milestone,” Oklahoma City Mayor David Holt said.

Back in 2005, the Association of Central Oklahoma Governments did a study to identify ways to expand transportation through the metro. That study identified potential transportation solutions that would improve connections among the metro, enhance economic development opportunities, improve mobility and also improve air quality.

“People want to see commuter rail between the suburbs and taking them down into Oklahoma City. That took another big step forward today,” Holt said.

In 2014, lawmakers passed House Bill 2480. Through a ballot question, citizens can now vote to create a dedicated sales tax for the RTA.

“The voters have been the engine really that has driven this change, through the MAPS projects and other ways to support what the city is doing. It’s really all about the voters. It’s about quality of life,” said former Oklahoma Governor Brad Henry.

With the recent street car addition in downtown OKC citizens are becoming more adjusted to using local transportation and have hopes of seeing similar transit through other parts of the metro.

“I think it would be great, you know. Living in Edmond, I’d love to be able to come down here and watch a Thunder game, be able to ride back,” Jackson said.

The group has many milestones to reach before such a transit could be completed. They said their next steps are to begin to identify funding services.

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