Recent Rails to Trails Legislation
In 2017, Rep. Lewis Moore introduced legislation to promote Rails to Trails.
HB1725 permits railroads to cease operations on a line without abandonment, and allows temporary recreational trail use of the rights-of-way. The bill specifies how the trails will be established and maintained, permitted and prohibited uses, and liability protections for railroads, trail managers, adjacent landowners. A feature of the bill will permit “rails with trails” use if a railroad wishes to allow it.
To see the proposed legislation, click : OK Rights-Of-Way Preservation Act
The bill was introduced to the legislature and began its typical convoluted trip to being approved or denied by the house and senate. During that trip the legislators may tweak the wording to improve its appeal and effectiveness.
However, along the way, that tweaking action resulted in the entire text of the bill to be replaced with an entirely different bill, one that moves the financial responsibility of a train crossing at an intersection from the railroad company to the county or city. So, we have a bill that went from helping cyclists get more bike trails, to a bill that self serves the railroad company at the expense of the citizens of the state.
The bill was co-opted by a legislator prompted by the railroad lobby. For details, click HERE
or read the Journal Record article HERE
If you are not yet mad about this travesty of justice, take a look at the article from the Journal Record with the railroad lobby. Here is an excerpt:
Tyler White, senior general attorney for BNSF Railway. “We can’t be restricted by state law. You can do more with less, as far as I’m concerned.” Moore’s bill outlined instructions for how railroad companies would handle
rail lines, but White said that language isn’t necessary. He said if Moore was interested in developing railroad lines into trails, the bill’s language should give more protection for trail groups."
For the entire article - look at Bill derailed - 03292017 - Journal Record