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The Oklahoma Department of Transportation (ODOT) has short-listed BNSF Railway Co. and Watco Cos. L.L.C./Stillwater Central Railroad as the approved bidders to negotiate the proposed sale of the state-owned Sooner Sub rail line.ODOT began accepting proposals for a potential sale of the 97-mile line between Sapulpa and Del City, Okla., in November 2013. The department acquired the line from BNSF in 1998. Oklahoma officials began exploring a sale in 2012 after BNSF and other railroads expressed an interest in purchasing the route.The short-listing begins a more detailed negotiation process on a sale, ODOT officials said in a press release. The state has up to 90 days from Jan. 30 to negotiate and evaluate final proposals, they said.ODOT continues to identify viable passenger service options between the state's two largest cities under a federally funded study expected to be completed in 2015. That study will analyze the Sooner Sub line as well as other possible routes, and determine the feasibility, public support and cost analysis for each potential option. A potential sale of the Sooner Sub line would not cancel the study, according to ODOT.
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