Readers Write: (Feb. 28): Infrastructure, discrimination, e-cigarettes, winter driving

  • Updated: February 27, 2014 - 7:04 PM

Plenty of funding, if only we’d direct it to legitimate needs.

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INFRASTRUCTURE

Too much spending on follies and trolleys

President Obama was in town on Wednesday, telling us that he is going to rebuild the infrastructure (“St. Paul depot helps make case for Obama’s plans to boost jobs,” Feb. 27). But wasn’t he supposed to do that in his first four years? Instead, he put the money into windmills, solar panels and electric cars. Six years later, he is still talking about infrastructure. He is also telling us how great the economy is. Best Buy is laying off 2,000 people, and Wells Fargo is laying off 700 people because mortgage loans stink. I would hate to see what would happen in a good economy.

What the government is doing is not working. Why don’t the news media at least offer honest suggestions instead of going along with every idea the government comes up with?

EDWARD MCHUGH, East Bethel

• • •

The Star Tribune Editorial Board (Feb. 27) supports raising the federal gas tax, since the Highway Trust Fund is going broke. I agree that our infrastructure is crumbling. Many of us have been saying that for a long time. The simple solution is to direct all fuel taxes, as well as all state vehicle license fees, directly toward improving our roads and bridges. We have siphoned away our resources and have directed them at pet projects like trains and proposed trolley cars.

Direct our tax dollars toward the intended purpose, and we will have plenty of money for our roads.

STEVE JOHNSON, Zumbrota, Minn.

• • •

Advocacy for new taxes for transportation infrastructure repair is incomplete without a suggested mechanism ensuring responsible allocation of resources based on project need. The federal military base closure commission model comes to mind. Otherwise, politicians of all stripes revert to the inside joke on all us taxpayers: “Ain’t no ribbon-cutting ceremonies when you just fix a bridge.”

MARK A. RURIK, Edina

 

DISCRIMINATION

May it fail, from Minnesota to Arizona

When Katherine Kersten opened the conversation about the Safe and Supportive Schools Act (“Antibullying bill ‘safe’? Check the hidden agenda,” Opinion Exchange, Feb. 27), she used code phrases such as “political correctness,” “special-interest groups,” “local control,” “parental notification” and “brave new world.” She argues that such a law would be an excessive and unnecessary restriction of freedom and that it is a danger to be avoided. Replace “political correctness” with “kindness” or “inclusive,” and you get closer to the truth of this effort. The bill is needed because some Minnesota school districts, like some states, have asserted the freedom to discriminate on religious grounds.

The protections in our Bill of Rights are core principles intended to create a more just society. That isn’t dependent on whether the reality of someone else’s identity makes you uncomfortable or offends your religion. We will be a much stronger nation when more Americans understand that.

MARCIA WATTSON, Bloomington

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