Editor: Three cheers for your editorial of March 2 supporting legislation before the General Assembly that would raise gasoline taxes and vehicle fees in order to increase transportation revenues.
The Sun rightfully recognizes that Maryland's economy is dependent on safe, effective and uncongested transportation facilities in a good state of repair. The availability of an adequate labor force and the ability to ship freight economically depend in large measure on a superior transportation system.
A recent report by economists of the Federal Reserve Board illustrates that public investment in infrastructure contributes to productivity in the private sector. It is not surprising that in the U.S., where investment in public infrastructure is less than 0.4 percent of gross domestic product, private sector productivity increases have been less than 0.5 per cent per year.
Compare this to Canada, France and the United Kingdom, where public infrastructure investment has been 2 percent of gross domestic product with attendant private sector productivity increases of 1.5 to 2 percent per year; and Japan, where investment in public infrastructure has been 5 percent and attendant increases in private sector productivity have been 3 percent per year.
The same relationship between public investment and private productivity gains would also hold in the economy of a state such as Maryland.
Without increased transportation funding, our continuing program of transportation improvements and repair would come to a total halt. This would be an intolerable condition, similar to closure of our hospitals or school systems. Essential services cannot operate on a stop-and-go basis.
Failure to increase transportation revenues this session would cause severe layoffs in the transportation, construction and design industries. This would be devastating to Maryland's economy, where construction job losses have already accounted for thousands of workers.
On the other hand, increased expenditures in transportation improvements and repair would put many thousands of unemployed construction workers back to work.
I totally agree with your statement that the General Assembly should have the courage to provide the funds needed to keep transportation in Maryland first-rate.
Editor: Like Peter Finch in the film, "Network," I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take it any more. Going to the movies isn't fun any more.
It has nothing to do with the quality of the movies. It has everything to do with the rude behavior of other patrons in the theater.
They talk loudly and excessively, they kick and shake the chairs of other patrons, and they are generally inconsiderate of others.
I think the theater managements need to establish and prominently display a policy that rude behavior of any kind will not be tolerated. Tom Kiefauber, manager of the Senator Theater, has done just this.
Prior to the screening of a film at the Senator, the audience is informed that rude behavior will not be tolerated, and any patron who fails to abide by this policy will be ejected.
I would like to encourage theater patrons who are tired of being annoyed by the rudeness of others to contact the theater managements. They can do this in writing, by telephone or in person.
Going to the movies is supposed top be an enjoyable and entertaining experience. Let's try to make it one again.
Michele E. Williams.
Workers for All
Editor: In his Feb. 27 letter, G. Raymond Valle comes out four-square for an increase in teachers' salaries, but clamps his foot down on similar action on behalf of state workers. As a disclaimer for self-emolument, Mr. Valle says he is not a teacher.
It is painfully obvious that he is not a state employee. If he were, he would not denigrate them by categorizing them as sanitary workers and pencil pushers.
Now, if he is talking about sanitarians he would discover that their qualifications and responsibilities are no less demanding, as guardians of the public's well being, than are the teachers' in their particular roles. As a state employee for 36 years and for 18 more in a related capacity, I traveled to every jurisdiction Maryland, east, west, north, south.
I saw prison guards putting their lives on the line, social workers visiting crime-ridden areas and remote mountain dwellings that most people never knew existed, secretaries and clerical
workers trying to meet deadlines. All were dedicated, hard working and vastly underpaid.
Add to these the many institutional workers faced with the unenviable task of caring for the needs of the helpless and near helpless confined to our state hospitals. Pencil pushers? Get real.
If Mr. Valle were to examine the record he would find that over the years, teachers as a whole have received salary increases -- indisputably well deserved -- quite a bit in excess of these given to state employees.