March 16, 2000

They say "the number of yearly transit trips is expected to more than double, from 28 million now to 70 million once the system is in place." They say that's 120,000 riders per day now. Consider that 25 percent of those are transfers. Then consider that the remaining 90,000 are each taking two trips, one to and one from work. That's only 45,000 actual "commuters" per day. Then consider that nearly 75 percent of bus riders don't even have a vehicle available, and their current net bus system impact on traffic congestion and air pollution is more like 12,000 vehicles removed from Phoenix streets each day.

Even if they can "more than double" this "accomplishment" with their $4.8 billion transit tax plan, the impact they will have over the next 20 years will be next to nil on traffic congestion and air pollution. If you dare to print this letter, it already will be too late for voters to have to know what's "real." Congratulations! Our "progressive" New Times has sold out and joined the City of Phoenix in taking taxpayers for another ride and another "trip."

Jerry Spellman

Once upon a time, I read New Times for its fresh, incisive and hard-eyed look at the various goings-on in the regional political arena.

However, your article about the upcoming transit system proposal was a complete whitewash of a proposal that will have a 1 percent impact on air pollution and will move at the blistering speed of 16 miles per hour. In addition, our streets will be cluttered with rail tracks, overhead sight pollution of electrical wiring, and by the time the tax expires, be rendered obsolete by emerging technologies. All this, and the subsidy for mass transit will only be some $16 per rider.

Your article never addresses these issues, never has a clever thing to say about the lack of vision a bus and rail-based transit system demonstrates, and fails to take a hard look at the permanent public works project being foisted on the people of Phoenix. Isn't anyone tired of the endless construction on I-17 or Bell Road? Your article fails to discuss how nearly all of the goals of the transit system proposal can be met at less cost by simply eliminating the $1.6 billion (initial cost) light rail system. Your incisive editorial eye does not question the power the transit committee will wield, nor does it consider the ramifications of placing another quasi-governmental body with rule-making and revenue-generating power in the path of the unwitting voter.

It is sad that New Times has lost its voice, its roar replaced by a whisper, its eye now clouded with cataract. No more will I be able to lend credence to the biting criticism of the established press, because all the press in Phoenix attends the same tea party.

Steve Streit

Did it really take a feature article for Laura Laughlin to say "Cars are bad" and "More of us should drive less"? There were no insights in this piece.

When asked if they think mass transit is a good idea, the large majority say it is. But when asked if they will use it themselves, the large majority say no. In other words, people want mass transit so those other people will get off the road.

The real question to be asked is, "What would it take for you to drive your car less?" The answers to that question would tell us what to do to reduce congestion. How about a piece with that orientation instead of simply pointing out that which is already obvious?

Guy Finney
via Internet

Weighty Subject

Thanks for the informative and respectful article on Tim Isaac and the sport of powerlifting ("Comeback of the 800-Pound Gorilla," James Hibberd, March 2). The way a person is transformed outwardly and inwardly in the pursuit of size and strength made for an inspiring read.

Jeff Jacklin

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