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The Oklahoma Department of Transportation (ODOT) will host public meetings this week to solicit opinions on the Tulsa-Oklahoma City Passenger Rail Corridor Investment plan.The plan will evaluate how passenger rail could improve intercity connections between Tulsa and Oklahoma City, ODOT officials said in a press release.The public will be asked to comment on the study's scope and purpose, and the transportation needs along the corridor. The meetings will be held in Tulsa on Tuesday, in Stroud on Wednesday and in Oklahoma City on Thursday.The rail corridor would be extended on both north and south sides of Interstate 44 between the two cities. ODOT will estimate future ridership, recommend an alignment, design the prospective operations and estimate the economic benefits to the state as a basis for a business case or Service Development Plan (SDP) within the corridor. The department also will prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). Both the SDP and EIS are required to obtain federal funding for design and construction.ODOT officials plan to conduct the study in three phases, with the first to focus on data collection, agency coordination, public involvement, National Environmental Policy Act scoping for the EIS and the initial development of alternatives.The remaining phases will focus on the screening of alternatives, SDP creation, Draft EIS, additional public involvement and EIS finalization, which are scheduled for completion by summer 2015.
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