Planning process will enable the MTA to build better...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

January 02, 2002

Planning process will enable the MTA to build better system

In a Dec. 15 editorial, The Sun asked, "Is there any hope for better transit?" The Maryland Transit Administration's response is a resounding "yes."

Enhanced transit services will come about through a planning process that engages citizens in a dialogue as to which corridors will be best served by additional rail transit. Only when there is solid consensus among the many jurisdictions in the Baltimore region can we successfully plan, fund and construct projects of this importance and magnitude.

To begin the process, the MTA chose not to rely on old transit visions and travel trends. Instead, we embarked on an effort to capture the best of current thinking and the vision of the region's leaders.

Our advisers include elected officials, the business community, county governments, transit organizations and education institutions. Our committee meets twice a month to offer its perspectives, review public input gained in workshops, symposiums and survey responses and determine priorities for a comprehensive transit system plan.

By this spring we will complete work on the system plan, achieve a regional consensus on its features and move into planning and design of one or more high-priority projects in time for the 2003 reauthorization of federal funding legislation.

Virginia L. White

Baltimore

The writer is acting administrator of the Maryland Transit Administration.

In its editorial "Is there any hope for better transit?" (Dec. 15), The Sun states, "Over the years, a consensus has developed that the next Baltimore area transit rail line must link the Woodlawn Social Security Administration headquarters area to the eastern suburbs near White Marsh."

Funny, that's not what I heard when I attended the MTA's Baltimore Regional Rail System Plan public workshop Dec. 3. No one in my group mentioned the need for a transit line to White Marsh or Woodlawn. Instead, the battle cries were "Charles Village to Federal Hill," "Canton to Camden" and "Build the core first."

With the public's involvement, a consensus on what functions the rail system should provide will be developed.

The MTA should be given credit for not just blowing the dust off stillborn, decades-old studies and for involving the public in the creation of the Baltimore region's 40-year vision for rail transit.

Holiday Collins

Baltimore

The ICC would ease suburban congestion

Route 100 was never considered an "Intercounty Connector" (ICC) when it was designed, but it has substantially improved the traffic flow between Anne Arundel and Howard counties and has provided some relief to the west side of the Baltimore Beltway.

The ICC would improve traffic between Montgomery and Prince George's counties and provide relief to the north side of the Washington Beltway ("Turning around on proposed road," Dec. 18).

The political charades over the ICC should end. Progress on construction should begin, before costs increase.

John G. Lacey Jr.

Ellicott City

Legislators' pay hike slaps the unemployed in the face

I am outraged that the Maryland General Assembly will be receiving a pay increase ("Lawmakers anxious over pay increase," Dec. 23). Have its members forgotten about the people who have lost their jobs or are in fear of losing their jobs? What a slap in the face for those people.

The money used to fund a pay increase for our state's politicians should be used to fund more job training programs or to help those who have lost their jobs get back on their feet.

This is the first time I've felt ashamed to be a Marylander.

Lindsay Tyler Bowlin

Baltimore

Photo of train's arrival turns history into art

On The Sun's Dec. 19 front page appeared a most stunning photo by Monica Lopossay Riesser showing the MARC train pulling into the new station in Frederick - extending the Brunswick line and linking the state's second-largest city to Washington.

Besides catching a historic event on film, the composition, colors, everything about the photograph is outstanding. To me, it is reminiscent of a Monet painting.

M. J. Leedy

Timonium

Poisons in our water, air threaten everyone's health

While we are preoccupied with threats of anthrax and terrorist attacks, our health and lives are threatened by the crass policies of the Bush administration, which has turned a deaf ear to a recent report issued by the National Academy of Sciences that found high levels of arsenic in our water responsible for bladder and lung cancer, heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and other diseases.

Recent reports also indicate that President Bush intends to weaken the Clean Air Act ("Bush expected to weaken portions of Clean Air Act," Dec. 23).

The poisonous arsenic in the water we drink and the pollution in the air we breath do not discriminate. They can maim and kill any citizen.

Leon Peace Ried

Baltimore

Using fertilizer enables farmers to feed the world

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