The Regional Transportation Authority of Central Oklahoma (RTA) is a regional, independent governmental agency established in 2019, under the laws of the State of Oklahoma. The originating City councils from each member city – Edmond, Norman, and Oklahoma City, created the regional Authority by resolution.
Today, the RTA is governed by a four-member board of directors with appointed officials from each of the three-member cities – Edmond, Norman, and Oklahoma City.
The RTA is responsible for developing, funding, constructing, implementing, operating, and maintaining transportation projects located within the boundaries of the regional transportation district. The board of directors meets on the third Wednesday of each month.
RTA Milestones, 2005-Present
The journey toward forming the Regional Transportation Authority of Central Oklahoma has included numerous studies, stakeholders, consultants, committees, conversations, formal and informal briefings, public meetings, task force meetings, council meetings, workshops, and more. The following are major milestones in the pursuit of creating a regional transportation authority.
In February 2019, a celebration was held at Santa Fe Station memorializing the signing of the trust agreement and indenture.February 2019
In the years following the signing of the MOU, 2016-2018, the task force worked on RTA development including governance models; board representation and structure; voting protocols; district boundaries, and much more. In late 2018, Association of Central Oklahoma Governments (ACOG) worked with six city councils to ensure approval of the trust agreement and indenture creating the RTA. All six cities approved the historic documents, and in January 2019, selected directors to serve on the RTA. A celebration was held at Santa Fe Station memorializing the signing of the trust agreement and indenture.2016-18
In 2015, six local mayors and ACOG signed a historic memorandum of understanding memorializing the creation of a Regional Transit Authority Task Force for Central Oklahoma. That task force was charged with developing the RTA for the region.2015
In 2014, another major milestone toward regional transportation was met with the passage of Oklahoma HB 2480. The legislation ensured that a regional transportation authority had the flexibility to draw tax boundaries by precinct, city and county. This legislation provides the RTA more options. Thanks to HB 2480, through a ballot question, residents can vote to create a dedicated sales tax for an RTA. Thus, taxpayers will eventually need to vote to raise revenue through taxation to fund regional transportation.2014
In 2010, ACOG partnered with the EMBARK, the City of Oklahoma City, and the Oklahoma Department of Transportation (ODOT) on an Intermodal Transportation Hub Study. The study involved a two-tier evaluation process that began with 10 potential hub locations along major rail lines within downtown Oklahoma City. That study, which was completed in 2011, culminated in the selection of the Santa Fe Station as the regional transportation hub. A total of $28.4 million was spent to restore and renovate the art-deco structure and transform it into a transit hub to serve passenger trains, the streetcar system, city buses, taxis and bicycle and ride-sharing services. The Federal Highway Administration awarded a $13.6 million Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant to Oklahoma City for the project. Oklahoma City provided $11.3 million in funding. ACOG, through the Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO), provided $2 million in funding and the Oklahoma Department of Transportation (ODOT) provided another $1.5 million.2010
Also in 2009, Oklahoma City citizens voted in favor of MAPS 3, a sales tax-financed capital program, which included a modern streetcar system. That system had first been conceived in the Fixed Guideway Plan of 2005. More than 10 years later, with 4.9 miles of rail laid, streetcar service commenced in Oklahoma City to great fanfare in December 2018. Eventually, the streetcar will serve as an intricate part of a comprehensive, regional transit system and will work in tandem with express buses and commuter rail.2009
In 2009, ACOG initiated the Regional Transit Dialogue, a visioning process to determine the desire for expanded and enhanced regional public transportation, in cooperation with local partners. The RTD engaged local, elected officials; policy stakeholders; transit advocates; private sector leaders, and the general public to articulate how transit can serve the region in the years and decades to come. It built upon the recommendations from the 2030 Fixed Guideway Plan.2009
The Central Oklahoma Transportation & Parking Authority (COTPA), now also known as EMBARK - lead a Regional effort to improve connections throughout Central Oklahoma's growth centers; enhance economic development opportunities; improve and expand mobility options; and improve air quality. As a result, the 2030 Fixed Guideway Plan was adopted.2005