Don’t reduce service on Metra’s South Chicago and Blue Island lines

SHARE Don’t reduce service on Metra’s South Chicago and Blue Island lines

Metra Electric train at University Park. | Bill Ruminski/Sun-Times

The Metra Board should be commended for proposing to increase service on the Metra Electric line between the Loop and Hyde Park (“Metra Considering More Electric Line Service to Hyde Pk.,” Sun-Times, May 25, 2017).

At the same time, the board should not reduce service on the two other branches of the Metra Electric — the South Chicago and the Blue Island. Cutting service would severely affect people in the communities of South Shore, South Chicago, Calumet Heights, West Pullman, and Morgan Park. People in those communities and throughout the South Side need better and cheaper service to give them access to economic opportunities. A Harvard University study concluded in 2015 that good transportation is the single most important factor in helping people escape poverty.

Improving transit is also good for the environment. According to Metra’s own statistics, a person who rides the train emits 7.3 times less global warming pollution than sedans, 8.6 times less than SUVs, and 13.2 times less than pickup trucks.

The best solution is to turn the Metra Electric over to the CTA and run the trains more frequently with CTA fares rather than Metra fares. The tracks are there, and the cars are there. All it takes is the political will to serve the needs of people in underserved communities on the South Side.

Christopher Johnson, Highland Park

Paris Accord is an equal financing concern

The world is wrong about President Trump’s cancellation of the Paris climate accord. They are right about it being a world issue, therefore it should be an equal financial concern. There should be renegotiation. I, for one, am not willing to have my tax dollar go to some country so their citizens have less taxation. Mr. Trump believes in putting American citizens before money!

Rose Denniston, Winnetka

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Trump drives U.S. full speed ahead towards global warming

I’m deeply concerned that President Donald Trump has decided to pull the United States out of the Paris climate agreement.

In its statement on climate change, the American Meteorological Society warns: “Prudence dictates extreme care in accounting for our relationship with the only planet known to be capable of sustaining human life.”

It’s a basic moral tenet that our responsibilities are greater when our actions put others at risk.  That’s why school buses are required to stop at railroad crossings even when there’s no sign of a train.

Regarding climate change, the lights are flashing, and the gates are about to come down.  Yet, with our bus filled with present and future generations, the Trump administration is pressing its foot to the accelerator and speeding toward the crossing.  Consider the selection of EPA Administrator, Scott Pruitt, who doesn’t believe that carbon dioxide is a primary contributor to global warming.

We must urge our members of Congress to push back against this recklessness and enact policies, such as a revenue-neutral carbon fee and dividend program, that would reduce emissions while protecting the economy.  It’s crucial to focus on climate solutions.

Terry Hansen, Oak Creek, WI

AHCA is unsatisfactory

Despite the house passing American Health Care Act, the bill is far from satisfactory. It makes the U.S. health care situation worse than it is with the Affordable Care Act. I am a practicing physician and I see patients who are worried about the future of their healthcare on a daily basis. The AHCA would take $880 billion out of Medicaid, and an additional $312 billion out of subsidies that aid working families purchase insurance through the ACA exchanges. These funds would be then used to give an $800 billion tax-break to insurance and pharma companies as well as people with incomes over $200,000. The rest of population would get virtually no tax break.

Even physicians view AHCA less favorably than they did the ACA. In 2016 Merritt Hawkins surveyed a representative group of 1100 physicians and 48 percent viewed ACA unfavorably. In early May of 2017 they surveyed a similar group of physicians about the AHCA and 66 percent reported a negative or very negative view of the bill.

There is no question that the ACA is deeply flawed. It left 28 million Americans uninsured and millions more with unaffordable copayments, deductibles and premiums. The AHCA will move things backward. Instead we should progress from the ACA to a Medicare for All or Single Payer plan like the one proposed by Rep. John Conyers (H.R. 676).

Even our president admitted that Australia has better health care than we do. With publicly funded universal health care Australians are overall healthier than us and live longer, mean life expectancy of 83 years vs. 78. Australia also spends less on health care than we do: $3,760 per capita per year vs $8,233.

With Medicare for All we will spend less as a nation on health care, we will be healthier and have everyone covered effectively and efficiently.

Hrayr Attarian, Oak Park

Sign the bills

On May 21, the Sun-Times editorial page recommended to the Illinois General Assembly “Three ways to boost LGBTQ civil rights in Illinois.” As CEO of Equality Illinois, the state’s LGBTQ civil rights organization, I am pleased to report that before adjourning late Wednesday night, the Legislature had sent all three measures to Gov. Bruce Rauner. One bill modernizes how transgender Illinoisans correct the gender marker on their birth certificates. Another bill disallows so-called gay- or trans-panic defenses in murder cases. The third measure encourages the inclusion of LGBTQ Illinoisans in public service. We urge Gov. Bruce Rauner to sign them.

Brian C. Johnson, CEO,

Equality Illinois

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