Weatherford Democrat

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March 13, 2013

Parker County commuter rail luncheon set for April 5

By Parker County Judge Mark Riley

Providing transportation options for an ever-growing population is a daunting challenge. A system of roads and highways alone will not serve our growing county.

Like it or not, we are no longer the small rural county we enjoyed a few short years ago. Granted, as we look to the east, we are still a small part of the growth area. But nonetheless, we are a part of the western side of the Metroplex. We are linked to Fort Worth in many ways.

Every day, commuters drive bumper to bumper into Fort Worth and points beyond and back home again on the same congested highway. We know more growth is on the way. It is important to begin looking at alternatives to future highway congestion. It will get worse.

Commuter rail is an option. It is not a cheap option. But it is an option. Actually, it is the only option to provide a choice in transportation. I don’t know anyone in Parker County who would ride a bus to work every day.

To begin the public discussion about commuter rail, I am hosting a (Council of Governments) presentation April 5. This will allow the public and officials from each governmental entity to hear first hand what it will take to bring rail to Parker County. There are many questions to be answered. None will be easy. None will come quickly.

At the present time, it is estimated rail would be available in about 20 years. That is today’s estimate. Tomorrow it can change. Perhaps residents won’t want rail in the next 20 years. It will ultimately be a decision made by residents. But the dialogue must begin now.

The public and elected officials are invited to attend the luncheon April 5 at the Clear Fork Station in Willow Park, from 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. The cost for lunch is $15. I hope to see you there.

Email your lunch reservation and include a contact phone number to judgemarkriley@gmail.com.

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