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Sunday letters: Public transit excellent way to go green

A man was stabbed to death July 2, 2021 in Chatham.
Buses and trains are excellent for the environment, writes a Sun-Times reader.

I was impressed with the Sun-Times editorial calling for more investment in mass transit (Build a Transit Network for the Future,” August 24) and with RTA Chairman Kirk Dillard’s response (“Where Transit Goes, Community Grows,” August 30). As the Editorial Board notes, “There’s simply no room to build enough new roads.”

However, neither the Editorial Board nor Mr. Dillard notes the environmental benefits of expanding mass transit. According to the American Public Transportation Association, when a commuter with a 20-mile commute switches from driving to public transportation, he or she reduces carbon emissions by 4,800 pounds a year. What’s more, households relying on public transportation instead of cars save $6,251 in annual fuel costs.

We should increase Illinois’s highway tax to pay for extending the Red Line to 130th Street, extending the Blue Line to Yorktown, and building high-speed rail between the Loop and O’Hare. In addition, we should institute congestion pricing—that is, charge people for the privilege of driving downtown. Since 2003, London has done exactly that, charging commuters an average of $17.40 to enter the downtown zone. Since then, London has had a 34 percent drop in downtown drivers. The fee generate $300 million for mass transit every year. And the Brits have received an unexpected bonus–London has experienced a 40 percent decrease in the rate of car crashes.

Christopher Johnson, Evanston

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Sugary drink tax nothing about health

Politicians have insulted the intelligence of citizens, trying to have them believe this Chicago soft drink tax is about health. Except, of course, if they still believe red light and speed cameras are about safety.

Earl Weiss, Uptown

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