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Trains a better choice for 21st Century travel

Bemused as I was by the long list of benefits that Neil J. Pedersen claims will flow to us when we complete the 19-mile Intercounty Connector, I couldn't get past the price tag for the highway: $2.4 billion ("A worthwhile investment," Commentary, Oct. 10).

North Carolina has a different approach. I just returned from a train trip there and traveled around the state quite comfortably without a car. Since 1991, the N.C. Department of Transportation, in cooperation with the railroads and the cities involved, has restored 12 train stations at a cost of $74 million and worked to increase train service in the state.


The writer is the author of a history of the construction of the B&O; Railroad.

Wrong for archbishop to forbid expression

I do not have an opinion as to the validity of the claims Gianna Sullivan has made that she has heard directly from the Virgin Mary ("Catholic Church orders woman to stop spreading messages she says come from the Virgin Mary," Oct. 15). But frankly, whether or not what she says is true has no bearing on her freedom to say what she wishes.

And as a Catholic, what troubles me about this incident is the fact that the so-called leaders of my church are taking it upon themselves to infringe upon the rights of individual Americans to exercise their freedom of speech, a right guaranteed by the First Amendment. Archbishop Edwin F. O'Brien does have the authority to prevent Ms. Sullivan from speaking on church property. But to call for her not to, as the article puts it, "disseminate messages in written, spoken or electronic form within the jurisdiction of the archdiocese" is just absurd.

This area is not governed by the church and its rigid dogma but by the rule of law.

Jeffrey Smith, Nottingham

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