To the Editor:
In a recent letter to the editor, one reader complained about the need to subsidize light rail after it has been constructed, thus purportedly showing, on the grounds of poor economics, that light rail should not be constructed. In response, I would ask the question: When was the last time I-240, I-55, or I-40 turned a dime?
Interstate 240 subsidizes private automobile transit and never shows up in the black; it is in constant need of expansion and repaving. Unless drivers are prepared to start paying tolls on this and many other roads, highways will never pay for themselves.
As mentioned in the Flyer's article ("On Track?" March 21st issue), the economic development spurred by the construction of light-rail lines in Dallas and other cities has allowed hundreds of millions of dollars worth of development to take place in areas previously viewed as declining or undesirable. If our county and city officials allow proper zoning to occur along the light-rail lines, the mindless sprawl that threatens to bankrupt our county both financially and environmentally will be curbed.
The statement that the east-west corridor will run down Poplar Avenue is just plain wrong. I attended the meeting where this corridor was discussed. Officials stated that the plan was either to purchase or lease existing right-of-way belonging to the railroad line that parallels Poplar. This has occurred in other cities, so there is no reason to think the same cannot be accomplished here.
The main question is: Do we build light rail now before traffic congestion is out of control or do we wait (like some cities have) until our city is literally choking on its own traffic before we do anything about it?
To the Editor:
Walnut Grove Road and its predecessor have served Shelby County needs for many decades. Now the Shelby Farms private management plan proposes bulldozing the existing route and moving it around the north edge of the park, adding a mile or so to the distance traveled by those moving through the area.
Keeping the road where it is and improving it would save millions of dollars and millions of gallons of gas a year. I hope The Memphis Flyer will demand that the powers that be consider the following questions:
How many million miles of added wear and tear per year will be put on vehicles traveling the new route? And at what cost?
How many million man-hours annually will be wasted by motorists who must travel the proposed longer route? And at what cost?
How much environmental damage will be caused by the added gas and diesel fumes spewed into the air? And at what cost? And is an EPA environmental-impact statement required (or at least desirable)?
David F. Diamond
To the Editor:
It is not surprising that the religious right has campaigned to get the Ten Commandments into schools and public buildings. They have no qualms about imposing their religion on others. But it is surprising that the rest of the community has passively accepted this without even a whisper of protest. Silence is consent.
The way is now clear for the promotion of other Old Testament commandments, such as the death penalty for witches, homosexuals, blasphemers, thieves, adulterers, those who worship other gods, who curse their parents, etc.
With the passive silence of mainstream religion, we are well on the way to a government-imposed fundamentalism that will be about as humane as the Afghan Taliban. As Edmund Burke wrote: "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good people to do nothing."
It is time to stand up and be counted on the need for the separation of church and state.
Jim R. Osburn
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