The Oklahoma City Streetcar began service recently. The $136-million project was funded as part of MAPS 3, a voter-approved one-cent sales tax that was collected over seven years. The 4.8-mile route serves 22 platforms and will expand economic development opportunities.
At a recent city council meeting, the Oklahoma City’s planning director, Aubrey McDermid, described the streetcar as “an economic development catalyst and tool sustaining the viability of downtown for many generations.”
McDermid also noted that 70 percent of millennials are power users of modern, multimodal urban transit networks. “This trend is not a trend that’s going to be going away,” she said.
Another public transit announcement came just a week before the launch of the streetcar service. Oklahoma City was awarded a federal grant to develop a bus rapid transit (BRT) line between downtown and the city’s northwest side. Once completed, the service will link to the streetcar line, providing a connection to downtown offices, retail and entertainment. Service is expected to begin in 2023.
“Coming on the heels of our streetcar and the addition of Sunday bus service, this BRT grant solidifies 2018 as the best year for OKC transit in modern memory,” Oklahoma City Mayor David Holt said. “This is a major grant and a major achievement for Oklahoma City. On behalf of the people of Oklahoma City, thank you to our federal delegation, especially Senator Inhofe, and thank you to the US Department of Transportation. We look forward to turning this dream into reality.”