- The Washington Times - Monday, August 13, 2007


Fast cash, unsafe highways

The outlandish penalty recently handed to a Navy veteran (“Veteran challenges ‘abuser fee,’ ” Metropolitan, Wednesday) for driving 75 mph in a 55 mph zone on Interstate 395 has another aspect to it. Driving at 75 mph on I-395 is the norm because the police let it happen. In fact, you will be passed by faster cars. The argument in court is that this is reckless driving and creates a safety hazard. If our safety is at risk, why aren’t the police doing their job to protect us?

If you drive 55 mph on I-395, you are at greater risk than driving at 75 mph. Drivers have no choice they must exceed the 55 mph limit. The solution is simple. Traffic tickets don’t work. When speed gets out of hand on I-395, the police should drive in traffic at 55 mph everything will slow (a California practice). Of course, this won’t generate money. The police should be held accountable for these unsafe conditions. Maybe the police, or the state officials who direct them, should be taken to court for conspiring to perpetuate an unsafe environment in order to collect money.



Too long for Bush

Maybe eight years is too long for one president to stay in office (“Bush pushes border reforms,” Page 1, Saturday). When the president resorts to acts of desperation such as these latest border “reforms,” it is embarrassing to the office and to the country.

After pushing one amnesty bill after another and rebuking the American people for their overwhelming opposition to illegal aliens, Mr. Bush now tries a novel approach: doing what we told him to do years ago. He foolishly believes that this will change the tide of opposition. No way, Jose. He even withdraws the National Guard from its posts while proposing this “dramatic” new tactic. There is nothing on God’s green earth that Mr. Bush could propose or do at this point. The American people no longer have trust in their president. For too many years, Mr. Bush has been a “foreign” president. That will be his legacy.



Expanding transit

I was disappointed to read the column “Bridge collapse ripples” by Jay Ambrose (Commentary, Friday). There are so many errors and wrong conclusions about public transportation that it is hard to know where to begin.

First, it is wrong to make the bridge collapse a highway-versus-transit issue when the real issue is underinvestment in all of America’s transportation modes.

Mr. Ambrose falsely states that road and bridge maintenance is suffering because of public transportation funding. This statement is simply not true. Mr. Ambrose noted a recent press release from Rep. James L. Oberstar, Minnesota Democrat, concerning $12 million for transportation in the state of Minnesota, $10 million of which is for a commuter rail line. Mr. Ambrose failed to point out that Minnesota is expected to receive more than $737 million for highway infrastructure in the 2008 Transportation, HUD and Related Agencies Appropriations bill. How are readers supposed to make correct conclusions when important facts are omitted?

Finally, to suggest that public transportation has minimal value is ludicrous and would certainly be a surprise to the millions of Americans who take public transit. Just last year, more than 10.1 billion trips were taken on public transit — the highest number in 49 years. Mr. Ambrose is also wrong to say that public transit does not help reduce traffic congestion. Think what our already clogged roads and highways would be like if the Americans who take 34 million public transit trips every weekday drove cars.

Mr. Ambrose is wrong in making this a highway-versus-transit issue. Instead, as a nation, we should be fully investing in preserving and expanding our transportation system. Americans deserve no less and our future prosperity depends upon it.



American Public

Transportation Association


Hazleton mayor rising

I am delighted to learn that Hazleton, Pa., Mayor Lou Barletta is seriously considering a run for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives (“GOP eyes mayor,” Inside Politics, July 31).

Mr. Barletta has justifiably become enormously popular by doing what is right rather than what is politically correct and approved by the ultraliberal American Civil Liberties Union. He has become a folk hero to many who believe in law, order and common sense, fighting tirelessly against the invasion of his small town by illegal aliens, which has changed the character of his city, making it less safe while thrusting enormous new costs for social services upon legal residents.

Although Mr. Barletta would be but one voice among 435 in the House, his would be powerful, would command even more extraordinary press coverage than is now the case, and would put pressure on other elected officials to join the bandwagon.

We are largely represented by a bunch of congressional fakers who look out for themselves and for special interests rather than the public interest. Mr. Barletta is not in that mold.


Upper Saint Clair, Pa. theory about the supremacy of new infrastructure over existing (“A bridge too far gone,” Commentary, Thursday), is the push by legislators to create new programs without ever taking the time to consider stopping or scaling back existing programs. Whatever ails us, there is always a government solution to address it, while past programs that failed to bring about a solution, or maybe even caused the problem in the first place, continue to be funded. There are always votes to be had from recipients of new government largess, and there is no surer way of establishing an opposition vote for life than to take someone’s free ride away, but this mindset needs to be attacked.

A great recent example was the farm bill. The 1996 Freedom to Farm Act established a system of annual, direct payments to farmers (set to decrease over time), to wean them off traditional commodity subsidies. Unfortunately, the 2002 farm bill reinstated both the traditional subsidies and the (now fixed/higher) direct payments that were to replace them, and the 2007 farm bill is set to repeat the mistake.

What we lack in the currently vast field of presidential candidates are leaders who are really serious about cutting government, or could at least start the conversation going about government programs we would all like to see ended. A bold agenda such as “Cutting the Budget by $100 Million a Day” would excite the forces of smaller government. If this cutback program was coupled with a plan to use half the savings to pay down the national debt, while returning the rest to Americans as tax credits so that the funds don’t end up in other wasteful government programs, it could meet with widespread approval.

We need to shrink government by adding only what is needed, while maintaining vital capabilities like the military, and we can do so by eliminating offices, agencies and programs that have run their course. But who is our champion? I hope the answer is not Rep. Ron Paul, Texas Republican.


Ashburn, Va.

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