All motorists should be able to agree that our state's highways and bridges are not up to par. There is much deferred maintenance and both intrastate and interstate highways need to be expanded and enhanced.
For many years our state's highways have been on a steady downward path toward crisis. While money can't solve all problems, increased funding could go a long way toward solving our state's highway needs.
We should all be able to agree that the most equitable form of taxation would capture revenue from the largest possible universe of payers. The fuel tax is such a tax, and it would be quite reasonable to characterize it as a user's fee. We users are getting a sweet deal when it comes to the amount of fuel tax we are presently paying.
We pay the fourth lowest fuel tax in the nation, and it is the major funding source for the construction and maintenance of our state's highway system, which is our nation's fourth largest. We are getting a doubly sweet deal when we consider that the fuel tax has not been increased since 1987.
The present fuel tax is 16.5 cents per gallon, and if one were to run it through the federal government CPI calculator he would discover that if adjusted for inflation it should be 33.84 cents per gallon. By the way, CPI is a conservative calculation of inflation.
Further, costs will continue to go up while purchasing power declines. DOT is dealing with an impossible situation.
My generation, Baby Boomers, is in charge, and we need to step up to the plate and properly fund our state's highway needs. If that means some are voted out of office for having done so, then so be it.
We owe it to our children and grandchildren to pass on to them a quality, well-maintained highway system, and we could start by adjusting our state's fuel tax to its proper inflation adjusted level and continue doing so going forward.
Ashley River Road
Boeing saved a million or more lives at the end of WWII. It's B-29 strategic bomber delivered the first atomic bombs to the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. WWII ended a few weeks later.
It was estimated that if we had to invade Japan's home islands:
1) Up to 200,000 of our troops would be killed battling a single-minded foe.
2) Our allies would lose many troops.
3) Japanese losses would further reduce the population to a fraction of its pre-war 20 million.
In August 1945 plans to invade were far advanced. There was strong world-wide pressure to get this terrible global conflict over.
As a part of this effort Boeing was asked to field the new B-29 bomber fast. It did. The airplane still had flaws, but it went to war.
It was the only bomber we had that could carry the heavy atomic bombs. Without it, the terrible carnage of an invasion would have occurred.
I don't think Boeing ever received enough credit.
U.S. Air Force Squadron Adj.
Rolling Fork Road
I want to strongly disagree with Thomas Thornhill's recent op-ed in which he states that the many citizens expressing concern about the adverse health impact of cruise ship emissions "have no place at the table as effective community leaders." Wow! That's a powerfully arrogant statement.
Has Mr. Thornhill not heard of free speech and the democratic ideal? I'd suggest that these leaders are heroic, taking a stand for clean air and the health of citizens. I find it shocking that Mayor Joe Riley has become such a rabid defender of Carnival Cruise Lines, a company with a poor environmental record, and an adversary to his own constituents' pleas for a healthy environment.
If citizens are confused about whose facts are more valid on the effect of ships' emissions on human health, I'd suggest they ask themselves the following: Whose data are likely more reliable?
A) The anti-shoreside power folks who say it's too expensive? They are the profit-driven Carnival Cruise Lines with its lousy environmental record, and SPA leaders, who personally benefit from bonuses based on SPA business.
B) The pro-shoreside power folks, i.e., medical doctors of the Charleston and South Carolina Medical societies? They have no vested monetary interest in this matter and have seen firsthand the horrible bodily effects of breathing these emissions.
Seems obvious to me.
I have recently read several editorials in The Post and Courier that alert readers to the fact that tax dollars would be unnecessarily spent as a result of the decision to build a 55-foot high bridge over the Wando River at Highway 41. In the editor's opinion, a 35-foot high bridge would suffice.
In light of this apparent deep-seated loyalty to the tax-paying public, I would like an explanation as to why The Post and Courier failed to exercise this same degree of loyalty when the majority of the current opponents of the 55-foot bridge were lobbying for the installation of a bascule bridge, one whose construction would cost $10 million more than a fixed span, that cost not to include maintaining it or hiring personnel to oversee the periodic openings and closings of the bridge.
At the last Mount Pleasant Town Hall meeting on the matter, SCDOT engineers stated that the ramp-ups on both ends of a fixed-span bridge are the most costly element of construction. They also stated that the ramp-ups would be identical for both 35- and 55-foot high bridges. Therefore, increasing the bridge's height would result in negligible increased expenses.
Additionally, online voting conducted by SCDOT clearly showed voters were in favor of the 55-foot bridge.
Next enter the "Johnny come lately" bicycle enthusiasts who joined the fray in the 11th hour in an effort to reconfigure access for bicycles and pedestrians.
Does anyone in his right mind believe that bringing more politicians into the mix is going to help decrease the cost of this bridge?
I worked for the federal government for 28 years, and anytime politicians get involved, you had better prepare to add a few zeros to the end cost of a project.
Oh, and by the way, the proposed design for the bascule bridge did not contain a 10-foot bike lane.
It appears as though The Post and Courier's "concern" is somewhat selective, driven less by a genuine concern for its readers and more by personal opinion.
Sometimes facts override opinion.
David L. Sullivan
Lt. Col., U.S. Air Force,
Bikers' big win
Congratulations to the cyclists and walkers for their recent lane victory on the inbound T. Allen Legare Bridge.
Many of us who reside on Johns Island are green with envy since we, too, would like to bike or walk from our residences to our downtown Charleston or Mount Pleasant destinations.
Unfortunately, it is not feasibly safe for us to do so with the existing road infrastructure from our neck of the woods.
In the meantime, since our only option will be to drive our gas-guzzling vehicles to our inbound destinations, is there any possibility of opening a Wi-Fi lane on the Legare Bridge for the rest of us? That is just in case the projected 13 additional seconds to cross the bridge glides into minutes.
A coffee and donut dispenser on the inbound side of the Legare Bridge would be an added nicety, but I wouldn't want to push my luck.
Hope Plantation Drive
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