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High-speed rail won’t fly

Updated: January 18, 2013 6:09AM

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood’s proposal on spending $500 billion of precious tax money to build a high-speed rail system is a bad idea. I oppose it for the following reasons:

One, no matter how fast the super train goes, it can never compete with an airliner for speed. And the high-speed train can never compete with a long-distance bus for accessibility.

Two, thousands of miles of unguarded railroads are extremely vulnerable to the sabotage of pranksters and terrorists. Besides, the high impact of crossing collisions with cars and trucks will be devastating and costly.

Three, Amtrak continues to lose money. Wasting astronomical sums of tax dollars to create a similar loser is irresponsible.

Four, at the time when the country is facing a “fiscal cliff,” pushing it over the edge with LaHood’s impractical extravaganza is insane.

Five, LaHood’s claim that 80 percent of Americans want to ride trains is questionable. As electric cars improve their driving range, more and more Americans would love to hit the open road with their new transportation that uses little or no gas at all.

Train traveling is a thing of the past. Mr. LaHood should look forward, not backward.

Eric Lin, Homer Glen

Kids’ backpacks are too heavy

For once I would like to see the parents walking a picket line protesting the inhumanely heavy backpacks the kids must carry back and forth to school.

My grandkids’ backpacks are so heavy, I can hardly lift them. If they are lucky to get a musical instrument to play in a school band, that adds to the burden.

Our kids should not be workhorses in their young years. I bet before long they will develop back problems with arthritis even before they are seniors.

Come on, school administrators, find a solution for this problem.

Aida M. Arita, Norwood Park

Kids’ backpacks are too heavy

If the people at Mooseheart are sincere in their desire to help children who come from unstable surroundings and impoverished homes, they need not travel to Sudan. Chicago’s West Side or South Side can provide children to fill all of the cottages at Mooseheart.

They may not be 6-7 or 7-feet tall, but they do have the potential to be community leaders and assets to the community with the guidance offered at Mooseheart.

Let’s not let our children down - help at home is needed.

Walter Kiebles, New City

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