Maglev trains could unite region, northeast corridor"The...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

June 10, 1999

Maglev trains could unite region, northeast corridor

"The Outlook" column in The Sun recently addressed prospects for high-speed magnetic levitation (Maglev) train service in the Baltimore-Washington area (" `Maglev' trains could speed growth over Md., some say," May 30).

A 1994 study of Maglev service between Camden Yards and Union Station demonstrated that it would increase tourism and economic, social and recreational interaction between the two urban areas.

Since the Maglev trains would travel betweeen the cities in 16 minutes, they would make it feasible for people who work in Washington to live in the lower-cost Baltimore area and for Baltimoreans to have lunch in Washington and perhaps visit a museum before getting back to work.

In effect, Baltimore would become another stop on the Washington Metro.

A longer-term and more fundamental impact of Maglev service would occur when service is extended north to Philadelphia and New York and perhaps south to Richmond. This would alter the whole pattern of business and recreational travel along the northeast corridor.

People who now fly between cities along the northeast corridor would use Maglev and travel from center city to center city rather than from suburban airport to suburban airport.

This would encourage Smart Growth, preserve scarce aviation capacity for long-distance flights and reduce highway and airport congestion, pollution and energy consumption.

The 1994 study concluded that Maglev's operating revenues would exceed operating costs and support a bond issue to cover a part of the cost of construction.

But U.S. Department of Transportation studies have shown that a Maglev system extended along the entire northeast corridor would have revenues sufficient to cover not only operating costs but all capital costs.

Thus extensions beyond Baltimore and Washington could be financed privately.

Jack Kinstlinger, Hunt Valley

The writer is chairman of the board of KCI Technologies Inc.

Church has long forbidden actively gay clergy

As a retired Presbyterian minister led a project for the Pittsburgh presbytery on ethical guidelines for the clergy, and is now a member of the presbytery of Baltimore, I want to clarify some points related to The Sun's article "Gay clergy appointed for outreach" (June 5).

The article said that Donald Stroud, the gay minister appointed to make congregations more welcoming to non-heterosexuals, was ordained in 1975, three years before the Presbyterian church adopted a policy prohibiting homosexual clergy in church ministries.

This is a misleading statement. Until the 1970s, it was clearly understood that practicing homosexuals could not be ordained to the gospel ministry in the Presbyterian Church, USA. The 1978 decision the article mentioned only made this historic understanding explicit.

It should be noted that one can be a homosexual and celibate and be ordained in the church, in the same way that heterosexuals are to be celibate when single and faithful in marriage.

It is erroneous to leave the impression that prior to 1978 practicing homosexuals could be ordained to the gospel ministry in the Presbyterian Church.

The Rev. Francis E. Tennies, Catonsville

Maryland's new quarter will inspire only confusion

Reading The Sun's editorial "25 cents for the Old Line State," (June 6), I see that Maryland has joined Delaware in the "quarterly" obfuscation of its citizens.

We have great confusion in Delaware about Caesar Rodney on our new 25-cent piece, and it looks like Maryland is following suit. Other than a Maryland history buff, who in the world would know what "Old Line State" means?

Not being a native Marylander, I was lucky to have an encyclopedia to check. But I think most people will just say "huh?" and not care.

This coin will circulate throughout the country. Can't Maryland find a way to represent itself with more clarity?

Morgan Golladay, Ocean View, Del.

Mfume was right to stick to his guns

The politicians are miffed and The Sun says a vacuum was left by Mr. Mfume's decision not to run for mayor of Baltimore ("Bruised feelings all around in wake of Mfume decision," May 26).

Let me point out that Kweisi Mfume tried to tell everyone he was not a candidate. He had to reconsider his position because many influential supporters called for him to run.

But Mr. Mfume's decision not to run shouldn't make anyone angry.

Just the opposite: Those who support Mr. Mfume should feel proud that he did not succumb to the pressure to seek another position before his present task, as head of the NAACP is complete.

My compliments to Mr. Mfume.

Phillip Paul Weiner, Pikesville

In Kosovo, U.S., allies must make a firm stand

The United States and United Nations are at a critical point in Kosovo. Anything other than unconditional surrender by Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic and victory over ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity will threaten peace and stability into the next century..

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