The state needs wide variety of transit choices
The Chesapeake Bay Foundation wholeheartedly agrees with The Sun's call for Congress to increase federal transit funding and to create a transportation system providing a variety of travel choices ("Transportation choices," editorial, July 29).
Opinion surveys repeatedly indicate that the public wants more investment in transit and more travel choices. And for many people, travel choices are not a desire but a necessity. About one-third of Maryland's population is without a driver's license - that's 1.7 million people, and they need alternatives to highways.
Historically, transportation funding has overwhelmingly favored one way of travel - driving. One-way transportation may have worked for Maryland in the simpler times of the 1950s, but it won't work for Maryland in a much more complicated 21st century.
The reasons are as varied as the transportation choices themselves; they include global economic competition, congestion relief, urban revitalization, mobility for all and cleaner air and water.
For the Chesapeake Bay, transportation matters because rain carries the pollution in vehicle exhaust back to the land and into the bay.
State and federal policy-makers should bear in mind that a one-way transportation system won't take Maryland in the right direction, including toward a cleaner bay.
The writer is senior planner for the Chesapeake Bay Foundation.
Governor wins funds for transit projects
The Sun's editorial "Transportation choices" (July 29) failed to fully disclose the extent to which Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. has sought federal funding from Congress for transit initiatives for the Baltimore region.
In fact, the Baltimore region transit plan, MARC expansion and the double-tracking project for the light rail line were all included in the governor's federal transportation agenda announced March 13. Mr. Ehrlich has requested both planning and construction funding for an extension of the subway line from Johns Hopkins Hospital to Morgan State University and for the Red Line from Woodlawn to Fells Point and Patterson Park. The Red Line study will include both light rail and bus rapid transit.
Since March, I have met personally with all of the members of the Maryland congressional delegation to press our case for these projects.
The legislative process in Washington is still moving forward, and moving on two tracks, appropriations and reauthorization. The House Appropriations Committee has taken the most recent action, and with the help of our congressional delegation, Maryland did extremely well. We won substantial funding for Baltimore light rail double-tracking, MARC improvements and the extension of the Washington Metro system's Blue Line.
The House bill also provided Maryland $12 million additional transit funds to improve bus service around the state.
Congress will eventually take separate action to fund the next six-year transportation reauthorization bill. For this process, the governor has put forth an aggressive agenda, which includes four major new transit projects, including Baltimore's proposed Red and Green lines.
Much attention was given to Mr. Ehrlich's recent visit to Washington and his successful effort to obtaining funding for the Intercounty Connector. But the governor's other successes in partnering with our delegation to win transit dollars should not be ignored.
Robert L. Flanagan
The writer is secretary of the Maryland Department of Transportation.
Dutch troops are a real treat
Unlike many of its European neighbors, notably France, the Netherlands has agreed to send 1,100 troops to Iraq in order to enable an equal number of U.S. Marines to go home ("Dutch force to replace U.S. Marines in Iraq," Aug. 2).
Citing America's role in liberating the Netherlands from the yoke of the Nazis in 1945, Dutch Defense Minister Henk Kamp said: "For us there was no choice. The Americans helped us in the second World War. Now they are helping the people in Iraq."
Such gratitude is rare in today's world of diplomacy. You might call it a "Dutch treat."
Albert E. Denny
BBC should survey other mythic menace
The Sun's editorial "Believe it or not" (Aug. 3) stated that the British Broadcasting Corp. used sophisticated sonar to debunk the legend of Nessie, the Loch Ness monster.
Perhaps the BBC could use the same techniques in Iraq to debunk the legend of weapons of mass destruction.
Herbert B. Shankroff
Police should control unruly club patrons
Those seeking to remedy the late-night problems plaguing the Charles Street area that is intended to be an arts district are wrong to lay the blame for the area's troubles at the feet of the owner of Club Choices ("Late-night unruliness near club undermines goals for arts district," Aug. 3).
No club owner can control what occurs once patrons leave. That is the responsibility of the Baltimore Police Department. The last time I looked, double-parking, public drinking, urinating and drug use were all illegal. So is disturbing the peace.
Are the residents calling the police? Are the police responding? If not, I suggest the residents call the police incessantly until something is done.
Situations in which unruly revelers disrupt and trash neighborhoods are nothing new. They continue as long as people are allowed to get away with it.
It is the job of the police to stop them.
Citations don't cut it. Take the yahoos who are making life miserable for others to jail. Sooner or later, they'll get the message.
Clean up the mess on Charles Street
When I read the article "Late-night unruliness near club undermines goals for arts district" (Aug. 3), my mind was flooded with questions.
Why does Baltimore have even one all-night club, no less three? How did Club Choices owner Anthony D. Triplin become so powerful? What's wrong with the liquor board and the Police Department? How can a pastor condone such a club?
I want to say to each of them: "What are you thinking? You are either part of the solution or part of the problem. Don't ignore your responsibility. Clean this mess up now."
Sentence for cruelty much too lenient
Kharl E. Bocala's meager sentence for the outrageous killing of the family dog, and not his act, should be characterized as an "inappropriate type of discipline" ( "Man gets 15 days in jail in death of family poodle," Aug. 1).
While the state properly prosecuted him under the animal cruelty law, his punishment appears insufficient for the level of violence used in this case.
At a minimum, Mr. Bocala should have been required to serve his full 90-day sentence.
Sarah King Scott