Re: "Our roads are overused because they're free," From our Readers, Sept. 5
Reader Scott Drenkard apparently does not drive much and fails to observe what happens with toll roads. People do not want to use toll roads because they already pay plenty in taxes for "free" roads. It is the dishonest, wasteful and convoluted bureaucracy of highway administration in government that prevents the money from going where it belongs -- the roads.
People generally stop using roads when tolls are charged, meaning those who continue to use them have to deal with ever-increasing rates to make up for the shortfall, which makes for even less use; it is a vicious circle. In the meantime the alternate "free" roads receive even more use, leading to more traffic and wear. A much better way to provide roads is to make sure tax dollars collected for them go where they belong.
Don't mess with Maryland
Re: "A tale of two states: Why Va. has a brighter economic future than Md.," May 1
Your editorial comparing Maryland and Virginia's economic prospects overstates Virginia's advantages. The report cited ("Rich States, Poor States") shows that Virginia does not beat Maryland in every category, including property tax burden (Virginia's was 30 percent higher) and debt service as a share of tax revenue (Maryland was 7th best, Virginia ranked 15th). Despite the rhetoric about "limited government," Maryland's public sector (measured as public employees per 10,000 residents) is actually smaller -- Maryland ranked 16th best; Virginia ranked much farther down -- at 29th.
Both states have high-tech industries dependent on a highly educated and a highly paid work force that expects good public infrastructure. In a regional survey conducted by the Greater Washington 2050 Coalition -- when asked about the number one problem faced -- 68 percent of respondents in Virginia cited "transportation" (in Loudoun County it was 84 percent). In Maryland, only 48 percent of residents cited transportation as the number one problem. This should also be considered when comparing the two states' prospects.
Bin Laden politics
Re: "Obama's boasting cheapens his bold attack on bin Laden," May 3
President Obama leaped over the campaign line by politicizing the first anniversary of Osama bin Laden's killing by questioning the patriotism of Republican candidate, Mitt Romney in a campaign ad narrated by former president Clinton. Indeed, Bill Clinton's repeated failure to get bin Laden -- possibly preventing 9/11 -- when he had the opportunity, should make him the last person to chime in on the credit.
Daniel B. Jeffs
Apple Valley, Calif.