Thank you for your excellent editorial: “A chilling Antarctic warning about Trump’s environmental failings” (June 13). As you point out, the situation is getting evermore dire and, with a political class that is stuck trying to please King Trump or unable to act, the role of the press is all the more important. The American people deserve and need to know the truth about climate change. Thank you for this article and I look forward to reading more reporting about climate change in the Sun-Times pages. In particular, I’d love to read more about the local impact it already has and will certainly have in the coming years.
Christiane Rey, Irving Park
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Investing in public transportation crucial to Illinois
Thanks to the Sun-Times for “Tell it straight, Bruce and J.B., about the pain ahead for Illinois” (June 5). The public deserves to know there is pain ahead as Springfield grapples with its pension problem and piles of unpaid bills. Unfortunately, mass transit has not been spared.
For years, Illinois has deferred investment into the region’s transit network, the commuting option of over two million riders per day. This region boasts the second largest transit system in the country. It is safe, efficient and essential.
Yet, these numerous benefits come with a cost. For too long this state and region have failed to properly invest in the region’s transit system. This has resulted in billions of dollars of deferred investment in our system’s aging infrastructure.
Recent operational budget cuts by the state combined with other economic factors amounted to nearly $100 million dollars in transit operating funding last year. This led to fare increases for our riders who provide the economic backbone of our region’s economy. Although the cuts aren’t as deep in this year’s budget, they still amount to tens of millions of dollars which the CTA, Metra and Pace will have to take into consideration as they develop their budgets.
As a former legislator, I know that addressing all of these conflicting priorities and pressures is an incredibly difficult task. We need to be having a more open conversation about the financial pressures facing our state. This includes acknowledging the deferred investment that has taken place on our regional transit system. We need to start properly investing in our regional transit network in order to jumpstart the economy of this region and state.
Kirk W. Dillard, chairman, Regional Transportation Authority
Chicago’s traffic gridlock screams for solution
I wish Elon Musk luck with his proposed high-speed transportation system between downtown Chicago and O’Hare Airport, but since the CTA’s Blue Line has been transporting passengers to O’Hare for many years, this is not exactly a problem crying out for a solution. I hope that people don’t lose their homes or businesses due to “eminent domain.”
I question whether there will be enough people willing to pay $20-$25 for the convenience. Many of those who use the Blue Line service do not get on the train in the downtown area, and for those who transfer from one L line to the Blue Line downtown, the transfer is free and convenient.
The problem that does cry out for a solution is gridlock. At any time of the day on any day of the week, including holidays, expressway traffic may be at a virtual standstill. The Highway Advisory Radio Network (1610 AM) was a good idea to help drivers avoid the expressway congestion, but most of the time, drivers can not pick up the signal, and even when they can, the information is often not for the road and direction of travel that they want to hear.
Please, Elon Musk, do something about Chicago’s gridlock problem.
Larry E. Nazimek, Logan Square