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Published: Tuesday, 8/24/2004

Making all highways better, safer

We understand The Blade's concern about increasing speed limits for trucks to 65 miles per hour on the Ohio Turnpike. However, we believe that the speed increase, combined with enforcement and an effort to reduce the costs for trucks on the turnpike, will provide an overall improvement for the northwest Ohio highway network.

You are 17 times more likely to have a fatal accident on U.S. 20 in Fulton County than on the Ohio Turnpike. You are 11 times more likely to have a fatal accident on State Rt. 2 in Ottawa County than on the turnpike. The more trucks we can move from the parallel routes, the better for everyone.

Ohio does not have the money to widen every parallel route. Ohio cannot provide enough troopers so that enforcement alone will drive trucks to the turnpike. A balanced combination of increased enforcement, toll reductions, and higher speed on the turnpike should produce a synergy that attracts the most trucks with the resources Ohio has.

Unfortunately, the turnpike has more than $700 million in bond indebtedness that must be paid. ODOT can help lower tolls, but it cannot provide enough to eliminate tolls without sacrificing hundreds of needed projects across the state.

As many as 3,000 additional trucks could move from the parallel routes to the turnpike through a combination of increasing the speed to 65 and slightly lowering the tolls. That should make the entire highway network safer.

Nationwide studies did not find an increase in truck accidents on rural interstate highways when trucks speed rose to 65. The turnpike was designed for such speeds.

We intend to monitor crashes on the turnpike, truck reductions on the parallel routes, and crashes across the entire northern Ohio highway network. If the network is not safe, we will reevaluate this plan.

Gordon Proctor

Director

Ohio Department

of Transportation

John Kerry and George W. Bush are both sons of privileged backgrounds. Both went to Yale. Both were members of Skull and Bones.

After graduation, John Kerry chose to go to Vietnam where he won a Bronze Star, a Silver Star, and three Purple Hearts. George Bush chose to avoid Vietnam by signing up for the National Guard. To this date, his attendance cannot be verified during certain time periods.

Who really fought for his country? And now an ad is running on television trashing Mr. Kerry's military bravery.

To those vets who are slandering Mr. Kerry now - did you lie when you signed his commendation papers or are you lying now?

Sharon Clark

Temperance, Mich.

The charge by "Swift Boat Veterans for Truth" that presidential candidate John Kerry did not earn his medals is a particularly cheap shot.

If military medals are awarded through an imperfect system, should we now question the validity of a brother's Bronze Star, an uncle's Silver Star, or a neighbor's Purple Heart?

Paula Miklovic

Maumee

I'm amazed by the attention you are giving to the PAC ad sponsored by men opposed to Sen. John Kerry's candidacy. I haven't seen similar attention devoted to the ads presented by the various PACs in the Democratic camp. Yet, those ads have been running for weeks, ad nauseum.

To me, regardless of your purpose, it all points to the inadequacy of a four-month stint - hero or not - as a single, maybe the only, factor to qualify (or disqualify) Senator Kerry as a worthy candidate to be president.

Mr. Kerry has a political history accumulated through several terms in the U.S. Senate. Does he repudiate that history by ignoring it? Does he expect us to jump over 20 years as a leap of faith? Or would he just as soon forget what might have been had he been there to vote?

Let's hear it from those who stood up to be counted. Does The Blade support that kind of history? And when you discover what he failed to vote on, maybe that will be as significant as his "heroic" four months in Vietnam. Remember, too, Navy men don't salute unless they're covered.

WARREN RISHER

Sylvania

I read with great amusement the columnist who felt that John Kerry's war record was "too good to be true." The real problem is that it is too true to be good (for the Bush campaign). As The Blade has shown, the swift boat ad is wrong. One participant in the ad has recanted and fellow Republican John McCain has disparaged it. In their mad rush to make President Bush a heroic "war president," the right-wingers, as usual, refuse to accept facts contrary to their beliefs.

Finally she quibbles about Cambodia. Whether five miles or 50 miles from it, Mr. Kerry was thousands of miles closer than Mr. Bush.

MICHAEL WATKINS

Bowling Green

I hope that the City of Toledo and Lucas County will give Mayor Ford's economic development plan a chance. Every organization, business, sports team, or public agency needs a "go-to guy or girl." This is the person who day in and day out gets the contracts signed, closes the deal, wins the game. Toledo needs a "go-to" person who will aggressively pursue economic development opportunities in the region.

Bill Carroll would be Toledo and Lucas County's "go-to guy." He would be responsible for making things happen. The Toledo area needs a person who will get up every morning and enthusiastically chase new business and help expand current businesses. The Toledo area is strategically located in the heart of the United States. We need a person who believes that this area can be the center for business and industry not only in the U.S. but a center for world trade and commerce.

GEORGE W. WEIDNER

Barrows Street

Your recent article "Trade deficit soars to record levels; economic recovery concerns deepen" should have been on the front page. This type of warning should be out there to make our citizens understand that the financial foundation of our culture and country is breaking up incrementally each and every day.

As long as we manufacture less, spend money we don't possess, and let greed make our corporate decisions, we are going to continue down the road to foreign domination.

We complain about Wal-Mart and the foreign goods in their stores, but Ford, GM, Chrysler, and even Harley-Davidson are importing more and more parts from overseas to assemble their products cheaper (which really means "for a higher profit"). Look at the wall of chrome accessories and shelves of cups, dog collars, and knick-knacks in a Harley store and find the word Taiwan, Korea, and China on more than half the items. You can't find a car on a GM lot that is 100 percent American parts and assembled in the U.S.

Why do we tolerate this? Because it is impossible to live and purchase only American-made products. We have gone from tolerating a few Japanese and Chinese bargain barn items in our houses to buying practically everything with a foreign country label.

Remember when nothing had a country of origin stamped on the label? We didn't need it. Now, even with almost all items showing a foreign source, we either say ho-hum or "it's cheaper" and pull out the credit card and spend money we don't have.

We need to start reversing the trade deficit. The presidential candidates should prioritize this higher.

Jim Brower

Oregon

In regard to school taxes: You may not get what you pay for but you will definitely not get what you do not pay for.

SHIRLEY A. MORAN

Wendover Drive



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