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Letters to the Editor 9/18

September 18, 2000

Letters to the Editor 9/18



Maryland needs transportation plan


To the editor:

The time has come for Maryland's political leadership to fund a long-term, comprehensive transportation and infrastructure capital improvement program. With gridlock being identified by voters as a top concern, we need action now to resolve this funding issue.

Just as the General Assembly has implemented bold initiatives that address education, health care, land use and environmental concerns, we have reached the point where it is imperative that state lawmakers turn their attention to this increasingly important issue. Moreover, they must vow to make it the number one legislative priority and take decisive action to implement a solution that will remedy our current and foreseeable transportation deficiencies.

Amidst a rising tide of concern, Governor Glendening established a commission last year to study transportation issues and offer recommendations. The Commission on Transportation Investment identified an estimated $27 billion funding gap over the next 20 years - just to alleviate the most urgent, present-day conditions. It concluded that, in the absence of a predictable funding source, existing funding sources will never come close to producing the level of revenue necessary to meet the state's transportation needs over the next 20 years.

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Maryland is the only state in the nation with two major transit systems that does not have a dedicated funding source. As a result, transportation improvements are implemented on a "catch as catch can" basis. Though the state does a good job of identifying (immediate and) short-term commuter needs, the current system does not adequately support long-range planning objectives nor does it provide enough money to fund essential projects on a timely basis. As a result, the state is now in the position of playing catch-up.

House Speaker Casper Taylor led the way earlier this year by introducing House Bill 1 (Transportation Funding - Mass Transit - Sales and Use Tax). This legislation would have raised an approximate $500 million per year by dedicating 1 cent of the state sales tax to transportation needs. Though not a panacea, HB 1 would have put a dent in the funding backlog - without raising taxes.

Although his valiant efforts led to its passage in the House, the bill was defeated in the Senate despite broad-based support from the Maryland Chamber of Commerce and more than 75 business and community organizations from throughout the state.

With little more than four months until the 2001 General Assembly session, it's time for the governor, the leadership of both parties, business, civic and community organizations to come together and forge a workable solution to this long-standing problem. Transportation and infrastructure funding is an issue that has far reaching consequences for Marylanders from every walk of life.

Let's resolve to break the gridlock and find a solution to this problem during the coming year.

Arthur D. Ebersberger

Chairman

Maryland Chamber of Commerce

Annapolis




Pets are what matter



To the editor:

This letter is to honor true animal lovers everywhere.

I wish there were more Debbie McCauleys and Marcia Daviss and Jennifer Swartzs and Sandell families, people who rescued a kitten from a McDonald's parking lot last winter on a rainy night and found a home for it.

Debbie McCauley has three cats she rescued. Marcia Davis has five.

Jennifer Swartz saw cats at Pet Smart and a poem touting older cats who really have trouble finding a home and she was so moved she took in a cat 10 years old. She has always loved all animals. People who truly love all animals and not just their own clique are heroes and heroines in my book.

Also Maryland legislation could do more for the Humane Society than what they accomplish.

Forget about recreation and sports legislation.

We have too many white elephants as is.

Let all people young, middle age and old create their own recreation as we used to do and still do.

Remember happiness and contentment dwell within, not from government related programs and material possessions.

If the United States would go back to God, we wouldn't think we needed programs.

Society can't go it alone although that's the concept today.

Put your faith in the almighty, attend the church of your choice regularly (be committed) and this would /could surely change.

Rosa Lee Meyers

Hagerstown

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