By Jeff Harrison
Midwest City Beacon
Del City recently joined a growing list of municipalities to leave the Regional Transit Authority.
The city council last month voted to formally withdraw from the transit system over concerns about the costs, the planned route, and reliance on sales tax for construction and operations.
The Regional Transit Authority is the governing district focused on creating a regional transit system in central Oklahoma. Their plan includes a hub in downtown Oklahoma City that would run north to Edmond, south to Moore and Norman and east to Tinker Air Force Base.
Del City is the third city to withdraw from the RTA. Midwest City dropped out of the organization in December. Moore also withdrew last month. Both expressed similar concerns and said they could consider rejoining in the future.
Mayor Floyd Eason said the cost of participating in the RTA were greatly outweighing the projected benefits for Del City. He said the proposed east route had changed and would no longer be as helpful for residents. The original plan called for the route to follow along Reno Ave. and then south on Sooner Rd.The modified route would run along Shields Blvd. in Oklahoma City to SE 29th St. and then east towards Del City.
“They are completely ignoring our request and what would benefit us,” Eason said.
The RTA’s focus became too heavy on the north – south route that would link Edmond, Oklahoma City and Norman, while ignoring concerns about the east route, Eason said.
Del City officials also objected to the rising cost of the transit system and how it was going to be funded. The RTA is planning to fund the system primarily through a sales tax that would be paid in participating municipalities. Eason said the city would also have to cough up $250,000 for each transit stop in its city limits.
“The bang for the buck isn’t there,” Eason said.
Eason had hoped Midwest City’s decision to leave would serve as a wakeup call for the RTA and the planned east route between downtown Oklahoma City and Tinker Air Force Base.
“We were hoping they’d wake up and take a look at us and and some of the problems that Midwest City had,” Eason said.
Among Midwest City’s concerns was lack of planning for the connection to Tinker Air Force Base, the state’s largest single-site employer.
Del City leaders voted to not pay their annual apportionment of $31,133 to the RTA on June 6. The city council then voted to formally withdraw from the organization on June 21.