Killing the ICC could lead to better, safer...


September 27, 1999

Killing the ICC could lead to better, safer transportation

Gov. Parris N. Glendening should be congratulated on his decision to kill the Intercounty Connector ("ICC road plan killed," Sept. 23).

This can be the first step toward a visionary public mass transportation system for Maryland that will serve the state for decades to come, until future technology brings us better and cleaner transportation.

According to the Maryland State Highway Administration, we've built almost 30,000 miles of roads in Maryland since 1960, more than 5,200 of them in Montgomery and Prince George's counties.

And still the region has tremendous congestion problems. That should be proof that more roads don't solve our traffic problems.

Even worse, we're literally killing people with our road building program. More roads bring more cars and trucks. Their exhaust contains benzene, which the American Cancer Society, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and others link with lung cancer and leukemia.

The American Cancer Society expects 7,000 new cases of lung cancer in the Washington region this year alone. Little children the ones most susceptible to leukemia caused by benzene in cars' exhaust.

Let's stop building and widening roads. Let's start building a clean, efficient, integrated, user-friendly public transportation system that people will want to get out of their cars and use.

Russell T. Forte, Colesville

Ruppersberger true to form in supporting the ICC

I was not surprised to read of Baltimore County Executive C. A. Dutch Rupperberger's support for the Intercounty Connector (ICC) ("Balto. Co. chief backs D.C.-area highway," Sept. 22).

The ICC is infamous among environmentalists for threatening to destroy Paint Branch Run, one of the last healthy trout streams in that area.

As Baltimore County Executive and formerly the County Council representative for the 2nd District, Mr. Ruppersberger has long proved his attitude toward what's left of Maryland's environment.

While representing the 2nd District, Mr. Ruppersberger helped change Padonia Road from a country lane winding alongside Goodwin Run -- a pristine trout stream -- into a four-lane highway that is as dangerous as it is ugly and mar the Goodwin Run watershed with a dense concentration of homes, condominiums, shopping and office buildings known collectively as Mays Chapel.

According to the records of the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR), Goodwin Run was in excellent condition in the fall of 1980 and still supported a naturally reproducing population of brook trout as recently as 1993.

But since 1995, DNR surveys have found no trout in Goodwin Run.

The county itself now proposes to cut down what I believe is the last significant stand of woods in the watershed to build ball fields.

Is this what the citizens of Maryland want?

Harold H. Burns Jr., Baltimore

Baltimore County Executive C. A. Dutch Ruppersberger apparently hopes everyone has forgotten about his recent inglorious absence from the region's Transportation Steering Committee ("AWOL on transportation," July 28.).

But the apparently fatigued Mr. Ruppersberger mustered the energy to breakfast with the Greater Washington Board of Trade and Maryland Business for Responsive Government, a "pro-business watchdog group," and back the proposed Intercounty Connecter.

In light of his negligent disinterest in transit matters at home, Mr. Ruppersberger should be hard-pressed to explain his excessive interest in a highway traversing Montgomery and Prince George's counties.

Mr. Ruppersberger is smart enough to know that new highways cause more gridlock instead of less.

The only "growth" that will come from the endless proliferation of asphalt that Mr. Ruppersberger touts is that of his own gubernatorial war chest.

Paul R. Schlitz Jr., Baltimore

For more faithful Jews, fewer nominal Christians

Rather than deplore Baptists' efforts to convert them, I believe Jews would be better advised to work at converting Baptists (and other non-Jews) to Judaism. Ethnic Jews should also take a serious look at becoming faithful Jews.

Society might be better served if we had more faithful Jews and fewer nominal Christians.

Galia Berry's call for Jews to "wake up" and examine their own religion (". . . or a chance to renew Jewish identity, belief," letters, Sept. 21) is on the right track.

However, the letter is mistaken in saying that the idea that all non-Christians are damned is "basic to Christianity."

Many Christians (perhaps most) do not believe all non-Christians are going to hell. For every New Testament passage that might be interpreted to suggest that eternal punishment is the fate of non-Christians, two others contradict that position.

Bill Duff, Baltimore

BGE could do more to prevent blackouts

As someone whose electricity was off for several days after Hurricane Floyd, I appreciate the hard work to fix the problems by the front-line employees of the Baltimore Gas and Electric Co.

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