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Thursday, Dec. 16, 2010 01:31 pm

Letters to the Editor 12/16/10

10th Street tracks and seatbelts

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Regarding last week’s “Tracks on 10th” cover story, readers question the high public cost of solving the railroads’ problems.

EXPENSIVE TRAIN RIDE

It is astounding that the $427-$516 million cost of full consolidation on 10th Street is more than one-third of the $1.2 billion in “high-speed rail” federal stimulus funding received by Illinois [see “Tracks on 10th” by Patrick Yeagle, Dec. 9]. That doesn’t leave much left over for the upgrading the rest of the Chicago to St. Louis line. Be prepared for the serious cost overruns that have plagued rail projects elsewhere. Even with the upgrades, the “high-speed” trains in Illinois will run on average at 60-75 miles per hour. How much more into debt should we go at the local, state and federal levels to finance a transportation system that the average Illinoisan would ride once every 8.7 years?

Kristina Rasmussen, executive vice president
Illinois Policy Institute
Springfield


DO NOTHING

I read the IT “Tracks on 10th” story by Pat Yeagle and had deja vu with a similar (expensive and useless) study done for Carbondale in the mid ’70s.

Whatever happened to the option which takes trains around Springfield? I would suggest that this is the only viable option. Think of all the bike trails through town we could build!

 Here is a really novel approach, rather than using our federal funds to fund a solutiion I suggest that the railroads use their profits from the “30 trains a day” to avoid Springfield altogether. The best way to get this done is to do nothing, another option I do not see in the Hanson study. Let the railroads find the best answer to their problem. Enough federal funds are going into the “high-speed” joke which the railroads have already sold to the idiots in Washington.

 Why is everyone so concerned with their piece of the pie? In case you have not noticed, the city, state, and feds are broke. There is no pie, there will not even be a dirty fork to fight over, so the only answer is to do nothing until the “30 trains a day” show up.

 In the ’70s I was involved in a similar study in Carbondale. Many options were studied, many nice drawings were created, much money was spend on studies, just like now. This is what politicians do when confronted with a problem, they study it until it goes away. In the end nothing got done in Carbondale but studies and the railroad routed their trains around town and, guess what, there were far fewer trains than had been predicted!

 There will be no consolidation on 3rd, 10th, or 19th streets. Nothing will get done except studies and meetings and stories written, but that is the way government works. It was a fun ride but the train never left the station. When the problem costs the railroads money then the solution will be to bypass Springfield. The answer was obvious, we have just re-invented the wheel and you and I paid for it.

Jerald Jacobs, P.E.
Engineering Design Solutions, Inc.
Springfield


SEATBELTS PERSONAL

Chris Babb’s Dec. 2 letter proposing the passage of a law excusing insurance carriers from paying any claim filed by or on behalf of someone injured or killed in an automobile accident while not wearing a seatbelt needs an additional provision.

Since the insurer will be permitted to escape liability for those not belted at the time of their injury or death, require the insurer to pay triple the amount of any claim to those wearing a seatbelt at the time of injury and 10 times the amount for any death caused by wearing one. Would it not seem logical that if you are compelled to do something to minimize a risk, and you are killed by the act essential to compliance, you would have a greater claim for loss when that compliant act was the proximate cause of injury or death?

Perhaps in the debate over this proposal, someone can provide an intellectual argument reflecting the distinction between public safety and personal responsibility. Wearing or not wearing a seatbelt is a matter of personal safety, not public safety.

Joseph J. Goleash, Jr.
Springfield

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