Letters To The Editor

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

November 21, 2005

State must support transit alternatives

The Sun's editorial "Traffic pattern" (Nov. 13) accurately shows how seriously Marylanders take the state of our transportation system and lament the resulting deterioration of our quality of life. Yet government regularly responds to transportation issues with reruns of "solutions" that have led to our current quagmire of bigger funnels that force more cars into the same size hole.

Marylanders are clearly willing to look to innovative approaches that go beyond costly cookie-cutter road "improvements."

Higher gas prices over the past few months and the corresponding drop in gas consumption send a message that should not be ignored: Marylanders can and are willing to change our transportation behavior. Residents are looking for alternatives to cars, turning to public transportation, bicycling, walking or car-pooling.

It's time for our leaders to take advantage of this behavior change by encouraging us to break the car-only mold. The state must energetically promote transportation alternatives, including a comprehensive and reliable public transportation system with links between services, as well as better bicycling facilities.

The quality of life benefits would include less traffic and reduced emissions, as well as more opportunities for healthier living.

Marylanders have identified the transportation problem and demonstrated the need and desire for transportation alternatives.

Our leaders should show the same vision and ability to change to meet the transportation needs of our state.

Paul Lebow

Annapolis

The writer is president of One Less Car, a statewide group advocating transportation alternatives to cars.

Focus the funding on public transit

Our ongoing failure to properly fund transportation is in part the result of our ongoing debate: roads or public transit ("Traffic pattern," editorial, Nov. 13).

"Let's fund both" seems like an easy compromise, but it doesn't work. It leaves us where we are: gridlocked and underfunded.

New roads are soon filled with traffic. They promote more sprawl, increase our dependence on imported oil and pump out more pollution.

More roads and sprawl undercut our cities while destroying farmland and forests.

Polls show far higher support for transit spending than for new roads.

But a transit-only approach to funding won't work because in a large portion of the state public transit really isn't a feasible approach.

The key then is to expand state funding of road maintenance in areas where transit isn't feasible.

We don't need a compromise; we need a decision.

Money that goes for new roads can't fund improved transit.

We should declare our road system complete and concentrate on improving transit.

Carl Henn

Rockville

Will taxi vouchers follow transit cuts?

Before the Ehrlich administration cuts any more money from the mass transit budget ("Group says MTA funding cuts planned," Nov. 15), it should remember that in Baltimore City, transit buses are school buses.

My children are already sitting on Howard Street as darkness approaches when the No. 27 bus doesn't show up after school as scheduled.

When the Ehrlich administration cuts the Maryland Transit Administration's budget by 22 percent over the next five years, as it has proposed, will it give our school children taxi vouchers?

Susan Shock

Baltimore

U.S. troops once seen as liberators

The change in America's standing in the world, from the end of World War II until today's is quite remarkable.

Many stories are told of the survivors of the World War II Nazi concentration camps who, on being liberated, said they saw American soldiers entering their camps, and knew they were safe.

What a long way we have come since then. Today, the presence of American soldiers in Iraq seems to strike fear and loathing in the hearts of most Iraqis.

Harry Ballantyne

Sykesville

Stem cells provide hope to diabetics

I was grateful to read Johns Hopkins researcher John Gearhart and Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation leader Lawrence Soler call for public support in Maryland for embryonic stem-cell research ("Stem-cell support can't wait," Opinion

Commentary, Nov. 9). As the parent of a child with Type 1 Diabetes, I support this research because it could lead to a cure for this devastating disease. And as a taxpayer, I want to see public dollars go to a policy that makes sense.

As Mr. Gearhart and Mr. Soler make clear, funds need to be provided directly to research projects aimed at helping people.

The Gearhart-Soler column notes that embryonic stem cells have been successfully coaxed into pancreatic beta cells, which moves us closer to a cure for diabetes. Unfortunately, that advance is currently limited to mice cells.

There is no scientific reason why the process cannot work with human embryonic stem cells. But we need public policies - at the state and federal level - that will support this next step.

Connie Etheridge

Sykesville

Ehrlich supporter saw cookies tossed

I guess even eyesight can be biased.

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