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Thursday, Oct. 3, 2013 12:00 am

Letters to the Editor 10/3/13

Though the plans for Springfield’s railroad consolidation on the 10th Street corridor are set, funding is still uncertain and the community is still divided.
PHOTO BY PATRICK YEAGLE
 

MOVE THAT TRAIN

Read “Engineered to succeed” by Patrick Yeagle (Sept. 26). The only problem, no funding. Hanson has cashed their check. You see Hanson knows these studies are a way for politicians to act like something is happening while nothing actually changes and politicians are always willing to pay for smoke and mirrors.

Want to really help all of Springfield? Move all the trains out of town onto farmland, build maybe five new grade separation bridges where nobody will lose their home and then do something really strange  – let the railroads pay for it with all the money from the gazillion new trains they say are headed for Springfield.

Jerald Jacobs
Springfield



TAX CHURCHES

While not getting into which side is right in the case of whether or not a child care center on church property should be exempt from paying property taxes (“Rendering unto Caesar,” Bruce Rushton, Sept. 26), I would ask a more basic question. Why should property owned by religious institutions be exempt from paying taxes in the first place?

After all, such property receives essentially the same services (fire protection, police protection, etc.) as that provided to property not owned by religious institutions, so why shouldn’t they pay their fair share of the costs of these services? The quick answer likely is that such exemptions are firmly entrenched in laws established long ago. Yet perhaps it’s time to reconsider these laws.

No doubt I’ll be labeled as a heretic or worse for suggesting this (and no doubt including members of my own church as well as others), but governments all over are having a difficult time making ends meet, and taxing religious property would seem to be a help in closing this gap.

Dick McLane
Springfield



DRAWING THE LINE

Ameren is planning to build a nearly 400-mile, 345 kilovolt high voltage power line that will become the company’s largest transmission line ever. The route of the Ameren Illinois Rivers Transmission Line will create permanent transmission towers across the prairie that will extend 80 to 140 feet high buried 25 to 50-feet deep across some of the most productive, prime farmland in central Illinois.

We represent a coalition of landowners in Morgan, Sangamon and Scott counties that propose a shorter route that will save Ameren $36.8 million less than the route Ameren has selected. Our proposed 57.3 mile route is 18.3 miles shorter and will take a straight line from Meredosia to Pawnee. This is the proposed route that Illinois Commerce Commission engineers originally recommended that follows a 138 kv route that has existed for 40 years.

On Wednesday, Aug. 18, 2013, our lawyers submitted our petition to the Illinois Commerce Commission to reopen hearings and reconsider the longer, more expensive currently approved Ameren route. They have 20 days to reply. We urge all landowners — residential, commercial or agricultural — who agree with us that this shorter route makes sense, to contact the ICC consumer hotline at 800-524-0795 to protest the Ameren route. (ICC Case Docket 12-0598). Why wouldn’t Ameren want to choose a shorter route that will save millions and help avoid future rate increases for Ameren customers?

Kelly Dodsworth and Steve Rhea
Morgan, Sangamon and Scott Counties Land Preservation Group

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