Md. needs mass transit

A close reading Wendell Cox's op-ed ("Before increasing taxes, increase trust," Oct. 12) will reveal a problem with his so-called reasoning. He asserts that it is an "...illusion ... that transit can attract a material share of drivers from their cars." He thus conveniently ignores the large number of public transit riders in Washington DC, New York, Philadelphia, Chicago, San Francisco and Atlanta, among others.

He writes "...approximately 45 percent of Maryland's road and transit funding has been spent on transit." This is highly questionable, and Mr. Cox needs to provide us with documentation for such a bald assertion. He goes on: "Yet, transit only accounts for approximately 3 percent of travel in the state." Again, where is his documentation for such an assertion? The reader is given no indication of the essential "compared to what?" Is Cox referring to cities, metro areas, or the whole state? It is meaningless to refer to the whole state because public transit is usually offered for urban and suburban travel, not rural.

Finally, Mr. Cox appears to feel that shorter times for work trips by car is the main reason for avoiding public transit. While not conceding that this is correct, people choose public transit for other reasons than shorter travel times. A first reason is freedom from the headaches of increasing street and road congestion. Another is that transit provides a way to avoid the daily demands of driving one's own vehicle. Transit can also provide time for other activities, such as reading. Taking transit can be healthier, too, requiring as it does some walking to and from transit stops. Despite the USA being a culture in a hurry, more Americans are finding that there indeed is more to life than merely "saving time."

For those of us who live in Baltimore, we can look forward to the proposed Red Line going east and west across the metro area as a measurable and long overdue increase of our public transit options. Mr. Cox's "reasoning" would have us scrap it, which brands him as out of touch with the 21st Century.

Art Cohen, Baltimore

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