RTA Breaks Down Plan For Funding Commuter Rail, Federal Funding Applications Underway

Thursday, June 23rd 2022, 10:21 pm


Connecting Oklahoma City, Edmond and Norman with a commuter train. Last week News 9 reported on three metro cities pulling out of the deal, but the Regional Transportation Authority is moving forward. 

“We’re looking at a very significant project, probably the region’s largest transit project that we have ever done,” said Jason Ferbrache, the RTA Interim Executive Director. 

The RTA is applying for the first of many federal grants for this commuter rail. They are able to apply for grants starting at $100 million because of the scale of the project. 

“With Edmond, Norman, and Oklahoma City committed to the RTA and its effort to bring high-capacity transit to the region we are in really good shape. If you think of that north south corridor, you have the anchors at both ends, OKC in the center of the corridor and that is really what it is going to take to make it work,” said Ferbrache. 

The RTA is looking for federal grants to fund the project. 

“We do know that it is going to be a project that will fit into the FTA’s, Federal Transit Administrations, larger grant programs. Those larger grant programs are more than $100 million,” he said. 

The RTA said right now the estimated cost is around $300 million. 

“There are a lot of reasons for looking at a commuter rail or a high-capacity transit for our region. Looking at traffic patterns and giving residents of the central Oklahoma region choices about how they decide to commute or make their trips,” said Ferbrache. 

Cities that want to be a part of the commuter rail must buy into the project using sales tax. 

Even with federal funding, Ferbranche said he doesn’t see the sales tax buy-in going down. 

“They want to make the capital investment but make sure the locals can also contribute to that capital investment,” he said. 

The RTA will find out if they were selected for this first federal grant sometime this fall.