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Public-pvt. partnership would put us on right road

I recently received a flier in the mail asking for input on proposals to widen Interstate 10 in the Phoenix area from Loop 101 to I-17.

I find the solicitation of public input at this time odd since the road-building plan arises from Maricopa County’s half-cent sales tax for roads that has been in place for decades.

Many current freeway widening and extension plans are a case study in why taxes – especially one unrelated to road use, such as a sales tax – are a poor financing option for highways.

To add outside lanes to I-10, the current embankment and concrete retaining walls would have to be dug out and new retaining walls constructed. If two lanes are added, at least some of the overpasses would have to be reconstructed. Yet, the median is held sacrosanct for future transit development.

Meanwhile, Loop 202 is to extend from its intersection with I-10 near Ahwatukee around South Mountain to intersect with I-10 again at 55th Avenue, leaving a five-mile bottleneck on I-10 between it and Loop 101.

It’s almost as if currently planned fixes for road congestion are intentionally planned to produce more road congestion and be as expensive as possible.

Contrast this to public-private partnerships in California, Texas and Virginia where private entities are privately funding, constructing and administering public toll roads – often roads that transportation official plans never contemplated.

These roads are built quickly to high standards, offer real congestion relief and maximize efficiency by keeping costs low. Texas Highway 130, for example, wouldn’t have been built for another 10 years and was $400 million under budget before it was finished.

Arizona needs a comprehensive public-private partnership law for roads, and it needs it now, before past errors are only compounded.

Byron Schlomach, Ph.D

director, economic policy

Goldwater Institute


Obama shows signs of wimping U.S. into shape

Often, clues to a person’s moral and ethical values can be gleaned from the relatively minor actions that person undertakes.

Witness, for example, the White House’s decision to send back a bust of Winston Churchill to Great Britain, even though our British friends said they would be happy to let us continue to display the bronze worth hundreds of thousands of dollars.

As the Ace of Blades HQ blog noted, perhaps President Obama is requesting a bust of disgraced Hitler appeaser Neville Chamberlain instead.

Also, notice that during Obama’s first-ever nationally-televised press conference, his very first question was not from a journalist, but rather from a far-left columnist, who immediately embarrassed herself by labeling terrorists as “so-called.”

In other words, this columnist acts as an apologist for those who seek to mass murder innocent Americans.

Obama also took a question from the Huffington Post, a far-left blog.

In sum, even Obama’s relatively minor actions reveal him to be an audacious profile in wimpiness – just like the worst president of the last 30 years, Jimmy Carter.

Mark Kalinowski

New York, N.Y.

Are birds of a feather cause for a dust-up?

In a nation where television is the teacher while both parents work to buy the American dream and pay more than 40 percent in taxes, we have ceased to be a people thinking for themselves.

We believed the election of a African-American president would signal “post-racial America.” But we have seen racial statements come from Michelle Obama, their preacher and our first African-American attorney general, Eric Holder, saying “white people are cowards.”

President Obama came from “community organizer” experience and that means “troublemaker for the establishment.”

No one alive today had anything to do with slavery or, in a majority of cases, any form of racism. We will never overcome our preference for being with our own kind, but this is an animal instinct seen even in horses who have so little self-concept they attack their own images in mirrors. Put two white horses out with two brown horses and they will soon pair with their own kind.

Such preferences take many forms. Thin people prefer to be with thin people just as fat people are more comfortable with fat folks. Go to any high school cafeteria and see groupings of every kind and if you want to label such preferences “a problem,” the problem is yours.

Adrian Vance

Lakeport, Calif.

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