Fritz Saenger of Mount Pleasant has won The Post and Courier’s Golden Pen award for July for his letter to the editor, “Let’s get serious about public transit.”
The letter began:
“Rapid growth of the Charleston area has focused attention (though not much) on the subject of transportation. About two weeks ago, a mayor of one of our suburbs commented that the rapid growth will create severe traffic problems. He further said we can’t afford trains, so we’ll probably try buses.
“I understand his frustration with the attitudes of the state and federal governments regarding mass transportation, but his proposed solution fails to recognize the real problem we face ... Buses usually make the rider’s situation worse, as they run on existing streets and highways, make multiple stops and face the same kinds of delays that individuals driving their own vehicles do.”
“Rail transit, on the other hand (or buses running on their own right-of-way) can avoid traffic problems and allow riders to reach their destinations faster — if they go when and where the public wants.”
And: “We have not maintained the highways and other projects languish for lack of funds or local resistance. Many metropolitan areas have recognized that they must do something about this. According to the June edition of Railway Age, more than 50 U.S. cities have rail transit in final planning stages, under construction or in operation. Unfortunately, Charleston is not on that list.”
The letter concluded:
“I hope that the senior officials of Charleston, Dorchester and Berkeley counties, and perhaps others, will soon get together and direct that a serious plan be developed — along with a public information program that will get the population (on board) with the goals and objectives.”
Golden Pen winners are invited to an annual luncheon with the editorial staff.