Why are Chicago and the state dangling prizes in front of people who have not been vaccinated?

This is unfair to everybody who already got their COVID-19 shots. We send the wrong message when we reward people who have put others at risk.

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“We’re sending the wrong message,” a Sun-Times reader writes, “when we, in effect, reward people who have put others at risk by not getting vaccinated.”

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The City of Chicago now is offering rewards, such as a $50 Grub Hub gift card, to people who get the COVID-19 vaccine. And the state is offering people who get the shot by July 1 a chance to win up to $1 million in a lottery.

This is unfair to everybody who already got their shots to curb the spread of COVID-19. At the very least, everyone who ever got the shot should be eligible to win the lottery; only those who do not get the shots would be ineligible. We’re sending the wrong message when we, in effect, reward people who have put others at risk by not getting vaccinated.

Daniel Goodwin, Chicago

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Pandemic and the power of public transit

Thanks for publishing John Rennie Short’s excellent essay, “As life returns to normal, can American cities avert the old gridlock?”Short, a professor of public policy at the University of Maryland, argued that the pandemic made clear that urban public transportation has a vital social and economic role in making cities fairer, and more efficient.

The average annual savings is $12,000 for a Chicago area resident who switches their daily commute from driving to public transit. Transit saves the average rush hour driver $400 a year by reducing the number of cars on the road. It helps shorten commutes and improves air quality and freight delivery. A recent survey of individuals returning to Chicago’s central business district indicated the majority chose transit to arrive at their destination.

Each Metra rider provides a value to non-riders of more than $4,000 annually by reducing congestion and increasing safety. If Metra trains stopped running, it’s been estimated Illinois would need to add 27 more lanes to our normally crowded expressways. Rest assured, the buses and trains of the CTA, Metra and Pace are cleaner than ever, safe and welcome your gradual return.

Where transit goes, the economy and community grows!

Kirk Dillard, Chairman, Regional Transportation Authority

A smart fee on carbon emissions

I’m writing to urge support for a bill in Washington, co-sponsored by Rep. Marie Newman, D-Illinois, called the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act. This legislation, HR 2307, would impose a small but annually increasing fee on fossil fuel producers for the carbon emissions their products produce. The fee then would be rebated to every American household equally in the form of a monthly “dividend” check.

Fossil fuel prices would rise, reflecting their actual costs to society, leveling the playing field for clean renewable energy to compete. The dividend checks would keep poor and middle-class consumers from being economically harmed. Households would switch to cheaper clean energy alternatives and pocket the savings as greenhouse gas emissions plummet.

This would ensure a torrent of investment into clean energy innovation and new jobs, without slowing economic growth.

While this legislation is not the only action we need to take to mitigate climate damage, climate models demonstrate that it is by far the most impactful thing we could do.

Andrew Panelli, Homer Glen

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