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Letters to the Editor

BY DI READERS | NOVEMBER 09, 2010 7:20 AM

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Rail service the way to go

I began reading your Amtrak editorial ("Iowa City-Chicago Amtrak route a poor use of public funds," Nov. 4) with interest. But when I reached "Randal O'Toole," I started laughing. O'Toole has been around for a long time panning urban and interurban public-transportation projects. (I dare say you did some cutting and pasting from his stuff to write your piece.) That said, I take issue with a couple of your (and O'Toole's) assertions.

Interstate highways: The highways may be "cost efficient" at today's gasoline prices, but there are any number of sources who can show you the price is way too low. By my own estimation, the tax on gasoline should be around $6 per gallon.

At present, we are paying that tax indirectly: traffic-polluted air and its attendant health-care costs, traffic congestion and its attendant economic costs (the driver better not be tapping on his laptop when he is at the wheel), war (we are in Afghanistan and Iraq for more reasons than to "catch terrorists"), and income and property taxes (when the state issues multimillion dollar bonds to build or rebuild a highway, those bonds are not all paid from gasoline-tax revenues).

Intercity buses: Many people get all warm and fuzzy about Megabus. What most folks don't realize is that Megabus does not pay for amenities such as waiting rooms and restrooms.

Greyhound/Trailways pays for its space at the bus station. I saw lots of people standing around in shorts and T-shirts this summer waiting for Megabus. Let's see what they do when they're waiting for the bus in January. The coffee shop that is near the Megabus pickup point had to put up a sign saying that its restroom was only for its own customers.

I am looking forward to passenger rail service between Iowa City and Chicago. Rail service will be by far the most cost-effective means for intercity travel between the two cities.

Ed Fischer
Iowa City resident

Quote the smart students

Out of the thousands of intelligent college students in town, The Daily Iowan has chosen to quote students who said they might transfer and that they now have to go to house parties because of the 21-ordinance. Look around and find the students who are enjoying clubs, sports, shows, lectures, and the hundreds of activities that are available in any given week on campus.

Sure, this ordinance will be tough on some students and some downtown bars, but the culture can change. Other college towns have had this law for years and continue to educate bright, interesting, engaged students. Instead of focusing on those who whine and don't want to change, encourage each other to become something better.

Karen Parrott
UI employee


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