Pluses and minuses of the light-railRapid transportation...

Letters

April 29, 1997

Pluses and minuses of the light-rail

Rapid transportation has existed successfully in most major metropolitan centers in Europe and the United States since the early part of this century.

Sure, there may have been an increase in theft at the Timonium Shopping Center since the light-rail line has come there. But the mall would be even more deserted without it. Besides the regular commuters who enjoy using the light-rail line, it brings many shoppers who would not be able to come out this far.

By the way, how do the Timonium residents who are so upset about the "crime wave" explain the increase in robberies and car thefts at Towsontowne Center?

Sibylle Ehrlich

Towson

Public schools need better parents

The public schools do not need vouchers so children can leave the schools they are in. What the children need are parents who will address the problems at their schools and help the faculty and other parents to make each school a safe and stimulating place to educate these children.

The parents of public-school students are given a free education for their children. It is their responsibility to see that the schools provide the best situation possible for their children. Being a parent carries certain responsibilities and these responsibilities should not be discarded lightly.

A. B. Hackney

Upperco

Newspaper did its job, now it's the city's turn

Let me get this straight. A Sun reader thinks it's the newspaper's job to "fix" problems in the city housing department, problems that the reader doesn't even admit exist.

It is the job of a good city newspaper to cover and expose inappropriate or corrupt activity by public (and private) entities in that city. I doubt that The Sun spent extra funds or computer resources on this series; it simply followed its mandate to report on a public agency's policies and activities. In fact, I would not be surprised to find that the housing department has far more financial and other resources than the paper, especially given the department's generous support of outside contractors.

The Sun has done its job, and done it well. It was clear from The Sun series on the effects of housing department policies that the department is not acting in the best interests of Baltimore citizens or the city as a whole. Now it's time for the mayor, City Council and housing department to do their jobs by making it possible for residents to fix up their homes as needed, or to sell those homes when they cannot take care of the properties any longer.

Ruth E. Thaler-Carter

Baltimore

Congress can fix transportation fund

I am one of the many individuals who is concerned about the future of our nation's deteriorating transportation infrastructure. Congress has an unprecedented opportunity this year to reinforce our national commitment to a reliable and safe transportation system.

The U.S. Department of Transportation has reported the federal government must spend an additional $15 billion annually just to maintain the existing conditions of our roads and bridges. As we all know, there are highways and bridges in our area that are desperately in need of work.

The federal government imposes a user fee on motor fuels and the revenue generated is supposed to support our highway and mass transit programs. However, 4.3 cents of this user fee is currently being diverted to non-transportation purposes. Additionally, they are not spending all of the money collected from the user fees and are allowing this growing surplus to serve as a budgetary gimmick that masks the true size of our nation's deficit.

I support balancing the federal budget, but this should be accomplished through fiscal responsibility, not robbing our user-fee supported transportation programs. Unlike many of the problems facing the federal government, Congress can do something about this dilemma without raising our federal taxes.

Legislation is pending before Congress that would take the four federal transportation trust funds off-budget and allow the unexpected balances to be utilized. An identical bill passed the U.S. House last year by an overwhelming 284-143 vote.

There is also a bill that would transfer the revenue from the 4.3 cents motor fuels user fee to the Highway Trust Fund. These two actions alone would increase funding for the federal highway program by 60 percent to $32 billion annually.

An effective, safe transportation system is integral to our nation's quality of life and our international competitiveness.

Congress should take these two steps to invest in the future of our country.

Jack Kinstlinger

Hunt Valley

The writer is chairman and chief executive officer of KCI Technologies, an engineering company.

Free speech and a child of the world

First, Jimmy "The Greek" Snyder, then Marge Schott, and now "Fuzzy" Zoeller -- sports commentators, team owners, and athletes are not immune to the wrath of the New American Democracy.

The law of the land, our Constitution, permits them to say whatever they please.

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