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Paul Lachine/NewsArt

Paul Lachine , NewsArt

Letter of the day (Jan. 7): Commuter rail

  • January 7, 2013 - 11:58 AM

A group that is always omitted in discussions about mass transit are the over-80s men and women. We are not as dangerous on the highways as the teenagers, but we cause our share of accidents.

Many of us refrain from automobile travel because we are fearful of accidents. This is especially true for the elderly who live outside of the Twin Cities.

We are still hoping that the Northstar commuter rail will soon be extended to St. Cloud, the original destination planned.

If the rail went to St. Cloud, there would be a considerable number of riders who would come from Fargo, Detroit Lakes, Wadena and Little Falls, since these towns no longer have bus service. For this group, the last leg of the trip, from St. Cloud to the Twin Cities, is just too daunting to drive.

The environmental advantages of mass transit are immense and well-known. Those opposed to mass transit often state that it is a burden to taxpayers.

But cars are a burden also when you include all the maintenance of the highways. The maintenance cost is not completely covered by the gasoline tax and license fees. Every mile driven by a car is thus subsidized by the taxpayer.

Finally, let's hope that the end has come to turning more of our priceless farmland into highways.

WILFRED THEISEN, COLLEGEVILLE, MINN.

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