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Letters to the Editor

Time to hike the federal gasoline tax to fund highway, public transit projects

Rahm Emanuel and other suburban mayors are pushing for a hike in the state's gas tax. | AP/David Zalubowski

Rahm Emanuel and other suburban mayors are pushing for a hike in the state's gas tax. | AP/David Zalubowski

Dec. 3 is the first anniversary of the passing of John Anderson, the former Illinois Republican congressman and 1980 National Unity Party candidate for president. Anderson was ahead of his time in calling for a gasoline tax of up to 50 cents per gallon to pay for highway and transit infrastructure projects.

Why not honor him by using this idea now to fund a bipartisan $1 trillion infrastructure plan for both highways and public transit programs? The national gasoline tax used to support the Highway Trust fund was last raised in 1993, to 18.4 cents per gallon. With gasoline at reasonable prices, this is a good time to raise the federal gas tax by just pennies more per gallon. This could significantly increase funding for the Highway Trust Fund and its Mass Transit Account. It would not add to our national debt.

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Most Americans — be they city, suburban or rural residents, Democrat or Republican, liberal or conservative — benefit from good roads, bridges and public transportation. Given the gridlock and partisan bickering in Washington, increasing funding for highways and transit could be a key bipartisan issue that the president, a Democratic Congress and a Republican Senate can agree on.

Larry Penner, Great Neck, New York

Don’t call Obama Center criticism “fake news”

At a recent community forum, the Obama Foundation’s chief engagement officer declared, “We can’t let cynicism turn into fake news.” He was referring to an effort to compel the private foundation to agree to a “Community Benefits (Agreement) Ordinance,” so as to protect against residential displacement by the Obama Presidential Center.

At another forum last week, nine candidates for alderman of the 20th Ward said they supported the ordinance. The ward is adjacent to the site of the Obama Center.

Hurting from the actions of President Trump, no one wants to be a pain for former President Barack Obama. Yet healing will not come from more “Trumpism” — rebuffing opposing views as fake news. That is cynicism. No, healing will come from doubling down on Obama’s own ideals, which is to defend tough voices of criticism, distinguishing them from empty voices.

Dominic Surya, Woodlawn

GM shutdown is not OK

Here’s what I cannot stand: Corporations like General Motors shutting down their plant near Detroit and just having it be somehow okay.  Okay to leave tens of thousands of families in the lurch, with workers who put their heart and soul into turning out good cars stripped of their jobs. No corporate responsibility to the workers. Or to the town. Or the country.

It is not okay. It is heartbreaking. Why do we let them get away with it? 

Janet Ruth Hasz, Avondale