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Published: 12/4/2006

Rail project lacks proper funding

Trains do make sense! The Ohio Hub plan that the Ohio Rail Development Commission developed for the state does exactly what The Blade is proposing. Under the Hub plan, Ohio has the option of gradually implementing a fast, efficient rail-passenger system. When finally finished, the Hub would be a state-of-the-art 110-mph rail passenger system connecting the cities of Detroit, Chicago, Toledo, Cleveland, Buffalo, and Pittsburgh with Columbus, Dayton, and Cincinnati.

Unfortunately, this beneficial project lacks the proper funding. Our state constitution requires that all of the money raised by the state gas tax go toward the upkeep of highways. On the federal level, there isn t much money available either, as Ohio s policy is to currently use federal transportation funds to upkeep our roads. It is certain that without a revenue stream, the Ohio Hub plan will remain only a dream.

As you know I am interested in pursuing the possibility of leasing the Ohio Turnpike. The $5 billion or so this type of transaction would generate would be more than enough to begin developing the Ohio Hub passenger trains and make additional multi-modal transportation improvements that the state of Ohio needs to improve its global transportation linkages and to expand our economy.

JAMES SENEY

Sylvania

Editor s note: James Seney is former executive director of the Ohio Rail Development Commission.

In his Nov. 20 column about anti-American sentiment in Pakistan, Amjad Hussain mentions the 58-year-old Arab-Israeli conflict has been the root cause of Arab and Muslim frustration and anger.

For all the attention Israel gets in the United Nations and the world media, Israel is a tiny country; one could fit five Israels into the state of Ohio. Its population is less than that of greater metropolitan Chicago, and its GDP compares with that of Ireland or Greece.

If Israel disappeared tomorrow, it would not make one bit of objective difference in the lives of the overwhelming majority of the Arab and Muslim peoples. It would not create one new job in Riyadh, one new school in Karachi, or one new hospital bed in Cairo.

Despite the fact that a bloc of approximately 30 Arab and Muslim countries spare no effort at demonizing Israel, throughout the whole of its history, it has only engaged in direct combat with five Arab nations. The total number of Arabs it has killed in its wars overwhelmingly defensive in nature does not even equal the number of Iraqi civilians murdered by Saddam Hussein.

The fact is that the Arabs refuse to tolerate a Jewish state in their neighborhood for reasons no more enlightened than white racists here being unable to tolerate black homeowners in their neighborhoods.

The Arab and Muslim masses, faced with rampant corruption, poverty, and oppression from their own governments, are scapegoating Israel simply because they have few other legitimate targets for their rage that won t land them in jail.

It is a pity that someone of Mr. Hussain s education and experience lacks the apparent intellectual depth to see the greater picture where these matters are concerned, and remains content merely to accept half-baked rants at their face value.

Rob Vincent

Perrysburg

According to an Associated Press article, Iraq s Interior Ministry said Thursday it had formed a special unit to monitor news coverage and vowed to take legal action against journalists who failed to correct stories the ministry deemed to be incorrect. It seems the Iraqi government s idea of a free and democratic society is not that much different from what the Bush Administration likes to practice.

Hal Simon

Maumee



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