Letters To The Editor


October 02, 2003

Transportation's nuts and bolts matter too

As Secretary of Transportation, I could argue long and hard about The Sun's editorial ("One Maryland," Sept. 28), which suggests that Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. lacks a statewide vision for transportation.

I could describe how the Ehrlich administration's top transportation priority -- the Intercounty Connector -- will unite the Baltimore and Washington markets as no other economic development tool in Maryland history has done. I could also talk about the visionary list of highway and transit projects -- including the Baltimore Regional Transit Plan -- for which Mr. Ehrlich is seeking federal funding.

All of these projects demonstrate that Mr. Ehrlich cares about the transportation needs of the entire state, and that he will not fall into the trap of pitting one jurisdiction against another.

What I would like to address, however, is the less glamorous, nuts-and-bolts accomplishments that might not interest Sun editorial writers, but are critical to building confidence in the Maryland transportation system.

One of the core responsibilities of the Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT) is safety.

Under the previous administration, there were more than 18 incidents in which wheels came off state buses. Since Mr. Ehrlich took office, MDOT has implemented an aggressive maintenance program, and we are developing a new culture of accountability and customer service at the Maryland Transit Administration.

The governor has also asked MDOT to improve public transportation for the disabled, which is why we are developing new approaches so these riders can get to their destinations on time.

And for the huge majority of Marylanders who move by automobile, the Ehrlich administration is working aggressively to tackle the long-ignored problem of congestion. The Maryland Transportation Authority has announced a plan to build-out the Interstate 95 corridor to 12 lanes, and we are dusting off road-building proposals that collected cobwebs for years while gridlock got worse.

At Baltimore-Washington International Airport, the Ehrlich administration is completing new parking garages, a rental car facility and a reconstruction of the road network to ease the flow of traffic at this growing facility.

The Ehrlich administration understands that the state will need billions to tackle transportation problems that have worsened for years. That is why Mr. Ehrlich appointed a high-level task force to find funding options.

At the same time, Mr. Ehrlich understands that it is the behind-the-scenes, nuts-and-bolts solutions that will have the most immediate impact on everyday Marylanders.

Robert L. Flanagan


Name a counsel to investigate leak

I am glad the press is finally giving the White House's alleged leaking of the name of a CIA agent the coverage that it deserves ("Democrats seek outside inquiry on security leak," Sept. 30).

Unlike adultery, the alleged publicizing of CIA operatives' names as part of a political vendetta violates the law and hurts our security, not to mention that it endangers the agents exposed. Just ask anyone in the intelligence community.

Given their supposed commitment to morality and national security, Republicans should join in the call for the appointment of an independent counsel to investigate this matter.

What is good for the Clinton goose is equally good for the Bush gander. If a private Arkansas land deal (Whitewater) could justify an independent counsel probe, surely this matter does, as it smacks even more palpably of abuse of power and actual criminal wrongdoing.

Perhaps the media should brand this "Wilsongate."

Steven W. Siak


Learn how to build instead of bomb

Thanks for publishing Todd Richissin's article on Afghanistan ("Moment slipping away in forgotten Afghanistan," Sept. 23 ).

Although most Americans apparently now think that the attacks of Sept. 11 were the work of Saddam Hussein -- not a hopeful statistic for what ought to be an informed electorate -- the truth is that they were organized in Afghanistan, because the world had allowed Afghanistan to be forgotten and overrun by the Taliban.

The United States has now bombed and destroyed the fabric of both Iraq and Afghanistan and killed thousands of their citizens.

We should be rebuilding those countries, finishing the work of abolishing bad governments and establishing democratic governments.

But this is not work the United States is used to or prepared for.

We need to get away from just bombing and destroying, and learn how to build and support societies.

Edna E. Heatherington


Committed couples merit social support

The reasoning in the letter "Reasons to rule out same-sex marriages" (Sept. 25), which suggests that existing marriage laws supporting heterosexual couples who will produce the children that ensure a society's survival, would make sense in a simple world.

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.