Shifting views of traffic

EDITOR: With regard to Chuck Hammond's letter ("Build the overpass," Saturday) concerning the Farmers Lane overpass, it's a matter of generations. The older generation felt that highway traffic should bypass the cities, and the Interstate highway system was constructed. The current generation believes that highway traffic should be on city streets (San Francisco, Santa Rosa, Cloverdale). Many of us won't be around to see it, but it will be interesting to see how the next generation handles highway traffic.


Santa Rosa

Paying for roads

EDITOR: Regarding road-maintenance funding ("Uneven roads," Wednesday): Fuel consumption has fallen while miles driven have risen. Electric cars don't pay any gasoline tax.

I propose taxing motorists a penny per mile, regardless of size of vehicle, method of propulsion or purpose for use. I propose that the revenue be apportioned as follows: a third for transit, county by county; half for road maintenance, county by county; one-sixth for state road maintenance.

A motorist who drives 15,000 miles a year burns about 500 gallons of gasoline at 30 miles per gallon. That person pays about $2,000 for gasoline, including about $300 in state and federal taxes. A one-cent per mile tax would cost this motorist $150.

Bicyclists, who except for Bike Monkey pay nothing to maintain roads, should be required to register and pay about $50 for each bicycle. The proceeds should be encumbered so that they are used exclusively for the maintenance and construction of bicycle paths.

I know that these ideas are controversial and may be impossible to attain with our tax-averse citizens and politicians. I would like to see an idea such as this adopted by people interested in improving the condition of our roads. The alternative is to wait and see if the tooth fairy starts distributing money to fix the roads.



Framing the debate

EDITOR: My compliments to Tom Cooke on his important message concerning scientific consensus ("Denying expert opinion — when they feel like it," Close to Home, Sunday). Some find it convenient to give credibility to scientific fact (or not) based upon rumor or political allegiance. Controversy concerning human-induced climate change should center on what to do about it, not whether it exists.

Debate about immunizations should be about how to make them readily available, not whether they're efficacious. Disagreements about the fluoridation of public water supplies should be about how to make it universal, not whether it's safe or beneficial.


Santa Rosa

Obamacare costs

EDITOR: As the enrollment period for Obamacare ends, it is clear that rather than adding the uninsured, the primary effort was to shift those who had insurance to less desirable, higher copay, less coverage plans that will escalate in cost by double-digits next year.

It is estimated that despite subsidies, most people signed up for higher-deductible options that will end up costing them more. Aside from including pre-existing conditions in coverage, the simple answer is that patient accessibility to specialized coverage will be limited.

If only four out of 22 nationally recognized cancer centers are included in Obamacare networks, one can get a quick idea about the coming rationing of care for Obamacare enrollees.

Because so few young people have enrolled, the second year costs, not to forget a multi-billion dollar insurance company subsidy, are expected to rise substantially.