READERS WRITE: NOV. 20

State, toll roads best path to congestion fix

The transportation problem in metro Atlanta is not a lack of rail transit or “good roads,” nor is it a lack of encouraging people to move into denser settlements and ride trains instead of drive. The problem is traffic congestion, and a solution must provide a cost-benefit for all throughout an area the size of Massachusetts. Over half of the state’s population (5.9 million) resides in metro Atlanta. Therefore, transportation solutions, including funding, planning and management, should mainly be the responsibility of state government. Piecemeal projects sponsored by the area’s cities and counties are inefficient and ineffective in solving such a large regional problem. The most cost-effective alternative to congestion here are variable toll lanes next to crowded highways. Rail is a nice complement to toll lanes, but expanding rail to the level necessary for congestion relief in such a large, spread-out area is cost-prohibitive and unrealistic.

JOEL SMITH, STOCKBRIDGE

Campaign finance reform badly needed

Another letter writer asks why proposed amendments to the Georgia constitution pass so easily, and who is paid to write them (“Amendments need better descriptions,” Readers Write, Nov. 14). Although it is the AJC that should inform us beforehand about those amendments, my guess is the amendments sound attractive because some legislators are being influenced by their wealthier campaign contributors to write them. For instance, if a person spends a million dollars for some land he agrees will be saved for conservation, he can take the million as a tax deduction. That’s OK, unless that million might be needed for something else more important to Georgia. Obviously, the court amendment was passed to protect businesses from pesky lawsuits. Without campaign finance reform, only the rich will get what they want from government.

MARGARET CURTIS, ATLANTA

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