Maglev can become lucrative alternative to coastal...


April 01, 2002

Maglev can become lucrative alternative to coastal congestion

Recent Sun articles have emphasized the opposition to the maglev project (for example, "Maglev task force questioned," March 19). However, nowhere do these articles offer alternative solutions to the many problems maglev would solve.

As the East Coast population grows, a transportation crisis is becoming ever more apparent. Congestion on the highways and airways is increasing while mobility is decreasing.

The cost of energy from fossil fuels is rising along with the environmental damage caused by its use. Furthermore, our country's dependency on oil from nations where most of the perpetrators of the Sept. 11 attacks originated is not abating. Another oil crisis will come.

Long-term investment in maglev is an answer. Maglev offers substantial improvements in speed and mobility, efficiency and energy independence.

It can replace the nightmare of air travel. And anyone "thinking outside the box" would recognize that this connection between Washington and Baltimore would eventually become just one link of a vast infrastructure of maglev routes. The economic impact would be lucrative.

In the long run, the multibillion-dollar price is relatively cheap compared with the billions spent on our network of highways and secondary roads. Once the infrastructure is in place, the cost of transporting people and freight via maglev will be just a fraction of the cost of transportation via conventional car and trucks.

Our economic competitors, Germany and Japan, have already discovered and implemented maglev systems with success. We can make ours even better.

James Bauernschmidt

Severna Park

Senate can still improve our energy efficiency

It's disappointing that Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski voted to remove the only guaranteed oil-saving provision in the Senate energy bill by voting for the Levin-Bond amendment ("Senate defeats tougher gas mileage standards," March 14).

Ms. Mikulski claimed that she was protecting auto jobs in Maryland with her vote, but she really only protected our reliance on foreign oil.

The Levin-Bond amendment eliminates oil savings by punting responsibility for raising automobile miles per gallon standards to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). NHTSA's poor track record and ties to the auto industry make significant action on fuel economy unlikely.

But the Senate still has the opportunity to move us forward toward clean and renewable energy. Requiring that 20 percent of our electricity come from renewable sources by 2020 along with energy efficiency measures could reduce global warming pollution from power plants by one-third and save consumers $70 billion per year by 2020.

Mary Hanna


The writer is an intern for the Maryland Public Interest Research Group.

Don't indict the auditor for Enron's misdeeds

The criminal indictment of Arthur Andersen Inc. is absurd ("U.S. indicts Enron auditor," March 15). To charge a company of 28,000 American employees and many more worldwide for the self-reported errors of less than half a dozen Houston office employees is ridiculous.

The failure of Enron Corp. was because of the misdeeds of that company and its executives. These robber barons mismanaged and milked the company while telling investors all was well. They hid losses from investors and accountants. Arthur Andersen is not responsible for that.

The destruction of copies of documents by Andersen employees is not obstruction of justice. They were just copies. The destruction of the original Enron documents by Enron employees is where criminal activity can be found.

Neil Cohen


Supposed `ailing culture' wasn't cause of Allfirst's woes

The Sun's article "Ailing culture hobbled Allfirst, insiders say" (March 17) does not describe an "ailing culture" at Allfirst. However, it does make several points clear:

Treasurer David M. Cronin failed in his responsibility to Allfirst Financial Inc. and Allied Irish Banks PLC.

Frank P. Bramble and Susan C. Keating established an inclusive management system, expected growth objectives to be met and cut costs when necessary.

The comments of the interviewed former executives are personal and trivial.

There is typically a very good reason former executives are former executives.

Patricia J. Mitchell


City Council alone opposes downsizing

It seems as if the only group opposing the downsizing of the Baltimore City Council is the Baltimore City Council ("Delegates vow City Council will shrink," March 20).

McNair Taylor


Focus on priests distorts account of child porn ring

One would glean from the headlines and the focus of The Sun's article "FBI shuts child porn ring on Internet, arrests 19" (March 19) that the Catholic Church or its clergy were the main participants.

However, further reading indicates that over the past year, 89 of the 7,000 users have been charged and 40 arrested. Of those 40 people arrested, one was a Catholic priest.

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