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Kansas Resolution in Support of the Heartland Flyer Extension

Sunday, March 8, 2020 1:00 PM


SENATE RESOLUTION NO. ____

By Senator McGinn

20rs2806

A RESOLUTION supporting the extension of Amtrak passenger rail service between Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, and Newton, Kansas.

     WHEREAS, Numerous studies conducted by universities in Texas and Kansas have determined the economic benefit of Amtrak's Heartland Flyer passenger rail service and its extension to be at least three to one for every dollar spent; and

     WHEREAS, In 2010, the state of Kansas passed legislation authorizing a state passenger rail program; and

     WHEREAS, The Kansas Department of Transportation has been the recipient of several federal Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grants that have improved the Southwest Chief tracks. The Southwest Chief serves several communities in the state of Kansas and laid the groundwork for the planning and development of expanded passenger rail services; and

     WHEREAS, The Kansas Department of Transportation has introduced the new FORWARD Kansas transportation plan, which includes the development of the Heartland Flyer extension from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, to Newton, Kansas; and

     WHEREAS, Ridership on the Heartland Flyer extension from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, to Newton, Kansas, is anticipated to double if connected with the Southwest Chief in Newton, Kansas. Fully funded maintenance of the Southwest Chief is an integral and vital component of the Heartland Flyer extension; and

     WHEREAS, Amtrak has approached the state of Kansas to enter into a multi-operational partnership for an extended Heartland Flyer, with connecting service between Amtrak's Southwest Chief and Texas Eagle; and

     WHEREAS, The Governor of the State of Kansas has proposed to dedicate funds in the state’s budget for preliminary work for the development of additional passenger rail service; and

     WHEREAS, One of the primary responsibilities of state government is to plan for the immediate and long-term transportation needs of the state; and

     WHEREAS, Passenger rail service generates economic and environmental benefits throughout the state and region; and

     WHEREAS, While extensive capital expenditures are necessary for the restoration of rail services between Newton, Kansas, and Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, the federal government will likely reauthorize funding for the Fixing America's Surface Transportation (FAST) Act; and

     WHEREAS, Amtrak has presented to the 2020 Committee on Ways and Means of the Kansas Senate a plan to request 100% federal funding for the passenger rail development, the Heartland Flyer extension, through reauthorization: Now, therefore,

     Be it resolved by the Senate of the State of Kansas: That the Senate supports and endorses the extension of Amtrak service between Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, and Newton, Kansas; and

     Be it further resolved: That the Senate urges the Kansas congressional delegation to support the inclusion of federal funding for the full implementation and development of the Heartland Flyer extension from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, to Newton, Kansas, in the upcoming reauthorization; and

     Be it further resolved: That the Senate urges the Kansas congressional delegation to support the inclusion of full federal funding for the maintenance of the Southwest Chief in the upcoming reauthorization; and

     Be it further resolved: That the Senate supports a multi-state partnership between Amtrak and the states through which the service will operate; and

     Be it further resolved: That the Secretary of the Senate shall send an enrolled copy of this resolution to each member of the Kansas congressional delegation, the Secretary of the United States Department of Transportation and Senator McGinn.