- The Washington Times - Friday, April 25, 2008


Keep transit on track

I’d like to respond to the editorial on the National Capital Transportation Amendments Act (H.R. 401) (“The stench on the Hill,” Tuesday).

As a member of the Appropriations committee, I know the difference between an earmark and an authorization. This legislation is no earmark. It’s an authorization bill to keep up and running the transit system bringing many of your readers to and from work and serving millions of visitors to our nation’s capital. It is a system falling apart due to a lack of funding — funding this legislation seeks to boost.

On the issue of reform, H.R. 401 provides federal oversight, adding two federally appointed members to the Metro board that oversees the system. The bill also increases scrutiny by federal inspector generals, including mechanisms to improve accountability.

Your editorial also asks: What about fare increases? As any regular Metro rider will tell you, passengers have endured substantial fare increases. In January, Metro raised rush-hour boarding charges by 30 percent, increased parking fees $1.15 per day and hiked bus fares 10 cents per trip. It now costs $4.50 to ride from Vienna to downtown during rush hour.

Finally, you take Virginia and Maryland to task for failing to plan for Metro’s needs. In fact, they have planned. Both states, including the District, agreed to step up and provide 50-50 matching funding for Metro, the agreement reached in this legislation.

H.R. 401 seeks to get Metro back on sound footing, a system we cannot afford to let fall into disrepair. It deserves your support, not contempt.


House of Representatives


Refuting O’Malley’s rhetoric

In the editorial “Gov. O’Malley is shirking his oath” (Monday), you state that Gov. Martin O’Malley opposes the death penalty. You are mistaken: He only opposes the death penalty for convicted murderers.

Each year he willingly recommends in his budget $1.5 million to finance the deaths of approximately 4,000 unborn babies. In 2007, none of these state-funded deaths met the federal requirement of being performed to save the life of the mother. Unlike those on death row, these babies have no due process, no appeals and not even an opportunity for adoption.

State legislators who vote for Medicaid-funded abortions, many of whom also “oppose” the death penalty, bear some responsibility. In Maryland, however, the governor alone proposes the budget. Legislators cannot add new items to the budget. So, the governor’s opposition to the death penalty rings hollow indeed.

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