If the future of high speed passenger rail in the I-35 corridor means anything to you then here is your ONE chance to see, speak out and comment on it.

The recently released Texas-Oklahoma Passenger Rail Study from the Texas Department of Transportation's Rail Division is on the table. As interested public officials and private citizens we can either move forward with passenger rail plans to link the DFW area with Austin, San Antonio and the Valley or we can tell TxDOT to put the study up on a shelf to gather dust for a few more decades. The choice is yours.

A series of three public open houses are scheduled for August 9-10-11 along the I-35 corridor and it's your opportunity to see what the future could look like for passenger rail between our major cities and give your comments.  The meetings are scheduled for Laredo, Austin and Arlington.

It will take a strong grass-roots effort of cities and towns along I-35, mayors and councils, businesses and industries, universities and schools, convention and visitors bureaus and the general public to finally say enough is enough and we need rail transportation choices between our cities. It will also take guts from our elected officials in the legislature to finally admit that we can't continue to just pour more concrete and asphalt forever to widen, widen, widen and build more and more roads. We need to "Empower 35" for more than just highways.

The "Texas Triangle" between the DFW area, Austin-San Antonio and Houston is now where a majority of Texans live, work and play. Try these numbers: about 17 million people with a gross domestic product reaching $1.35 trillion dollars. The Triangle isbecoming more urbanized every year but our legislature can only think roads. This must change one day or we will wake up to wish we had planned for the future.

As rail advocates we would like to see support the findings and advance the study to the implementation stage. We can argue if passenger rail must be private, a public-private partnership or a public service but we must first decide that passenger rail linking our major cities is something we need to advance. Your voice needs to be heard. Now.