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LETTERS

As a musician in the Colorado Symphony, I see the traffic and parking problems downtown every week. If light rail is extended to Littleton and other areas, it will provide the thousands of people who come to the Performing Arts Complex and other downtown attractions a good alternative way to get there. Otherwise, we will have more and more violations of the federal air-quality standards, as we did recently on the evening of the Parade of Lights.

Let's get on with it and build light rail!
Helen McDermott
Denver

In Alan Prendergast's story on light rail, he talks about the subsidies that RTD gets and implies that a disproportionate amount of public funds flows into mass transit. Nothing could be further from the truth. The United States puts less public money into transit than almost any other industrialized country in the world--and it shows. We also have the largest subsidies for the biggest guzzler of tax dollars: the private automobile.

The real story is the billions of dollars of public money that go into building roads and providing parking designed to make it easier for more people to drive more miles while spewing more air pollution. User fees such as the gas tax pay for less than half of the direct cost of providing and maintaining the infrastructure and services required to keep cars running.

Will Toor
Boulder

At the Metro Growth Forum's concluding regional summit October 21, a clear commitment to light rail was made because goals were adopted that call for full development and funding of alternative transportation systems, including light rail, in the metro area, as well as development of increased RTD funding for light-rail rapid transit. These recommendations express the desires and wishes of citizens who are concerned enough about the future of their community to spend their own time trying to understand the issue and work out solutions that are supported by a consensus of citizens from all metro areas, all income stratas, all occupations and all political philosophies. As a participant in the whole process, I call upon our local and state government officials to heed the voice of the citizenry and move forward with light-rail plans.

Michael J. Mueller
Littleton

Alan Prendergast's story on light rail missed several crucial points that need explanation. First and most important, the people in the metro region want light rail. His article completely overlooked the overwhelming public support for expanding light rail. This support is easily exemplified by the overflowing park `n' ride at Broadway and I-25, which is beyond capacity.

Second, light rail is subsidized, but so are our highways. As we know, we face a serious dilemma in Colorado: We do not have enough money to build and maintain our transportation system. Current figures show that we will have money for maintenance of this system, with little left for expansion. Is this deficit only for transit? No! The gas-tax revenues do not cover all of the costs for highways; local taxes as well as federal funds are used to maintain and build highways. Colorado is one of a handful of states that do not have a state souce of revenues for transit. The issue is the need to raise flexible fund for all modes of transportation.

Last, transit is an important tool to combat air pollution. Particulate pollution, which is comprised of fine dust particles that become lodged in lungs, is caused by tailpipe emissions, and the grinding of sand, dirt, roads and tires. Particulate pollution is directly related to the amount of miles we drive; the less we drive, the less we pollute.

With the great amount of growth facing the region, now is the time to work for cleaner solutions to our air quality problems. Building out a transit network in the Denver metro region, which would include both light rail and commuter rail, will provide citizens with cleaner options, which will result in lessened congestion and improved air quality.

Kristen Murphy
Clean Air Attorney, CoPirg

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