Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT) officials announced Amtrak is moving forward with a feasibility study regarding the proposed extension of the Heartland Flyer route. If expanded, it would connect train service from the
Southwest Chief route at the Newton train station, linking Wichita to Oklahoma City and the state of Texas. Wichita City Council Member Pete Meitzner is a long-time advocate of the expansion. He testified before the Kansas Senate Ways & Means Committee earlier this week before joining state and Amtrak officials for the feasibility study announcement.
Amtrak will conduct the economic analysis with the support of the Interstate Coalition. It will include revenue and ridership estimates. The Oklahoma and Texas Transportation Departments have encouraged the study for several years while awaiting KDOT’s approval. The timeline for the Amtrak study is not yet known.
The corridor between Kansas City and Fort Worth that passes through Wichita has experienced significant and sustained growth over the past few decades. The proposed expansion will facilitate economic development opportunities and growth along this area.
Council Member Meitzner plans to continue to push for the expansion of the Heartland Flyer Route. He has spoken to state legislators, city and county staff members and transportation officials in an effort to reestablish service over the past few years. He also recently addressed the 2018 Southwestern Rail Conference in Dallas.