Kansas slow getting on board passenger rail expansion

Former Kansas Lt. Gov. Shelby Smith of Wichita has been championing expanded passenger rail service in Kansas for years. He gave his first testimony on the topic nearly five years ago, and has made 16 appearances before legislative committees in Topeka. Smith said there is strong support for Option 3 of an Amtrak feasibility study, which would link Kansas to passenger train service in Oklahoma and Texas and provide for daytime stops in Arkansas City, Wichita, Emporia, Topeka, Lawrence and Kansas City. But he is getting frustrated with how long it is taking Kansas political leaders to act, noting that Oklahoma revived passenger rail service in 1999. “For Kansas to take another 15 years is embarrassing,” he said.