2016-07-20 / Editorials

Letters to the Editor

Mass Transit Legacy

To The Editor:

The success of public transportation can be traced back to one of the late President Lyndon Johnson's greatest accomplishments, which continues benefiting many Americans today. On July 9, 1964 he signed the Urban Mass Transportation Act of 1964 into law. Subsequently, this has resulted in the investment over time of several hundred billion dollars into public transportation.

Millions of Americans, including many residing in Queens County, on a daily basis utilize various public transportation alternatives. They include local and express bus, ferry, jitney, light rail, subway and commuter rail services. All of these systems use less fuel and move far more people than conventional single occupancy vehicles. Most are funded with your tax dollars, thanks to President Johnson.

Depending upon where you live, consider the public transportation alternative. Try riding a local or express bus, commuter van, ferry, light rail, commuter rail or subway.

Up until the ‘60s – I remember bus drivers made change and drove the bus at the same time. Nobody would dare bring soda or food on the bus or leave any litter behind.

Chartered by the State Legislature in 1965 as the Metropolitan Commuter Transportation Authority (MCTA), it was created to purchase and operate the bankrupt Long Island Rail Road. The MCTA changed its name to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) in 1968, when it took over operations of the New York City Transit Authority. Previously, in 1953, the old NYC Board of Transportation passed on control of the municipal subway system, including all its assets to the newly created NYCTA. In 1968, the MTA also acquired, through lease, the New York State commuter trackage of Penn Central's Hudson, Harlem and New Haven lines, contracting their subsidized operation to Penn Central. In 1976, they became part of Conrail. In 1983 the Metro- North Railroad was formed to take over all of Conrail's New York State commuter operations. The MTA took over all service in 1983, as the Metro North Railroad.

Fast forward to today. Fortunately, we have the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) and its various operating agencies, including New York City Transit subway and bus, Long Island Rail Road, Metro North Rail Road, Staten Island Rapid Transit Authority and MTA Bus.

There is also New Jersey Transit (NJT), Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PATH) and NYCDOT Staten Island Ferry.

Using MTA MetroCards provides free transfers between the subway and bus. This has eliminated the old two-fare zones, making public transportation an even better bargain. Purchasing a monthly Long Island Rail Road or MTA subway/bus pass reduces the cost per ride and provides virtually unlimited trips.

The ability to travel from home to workplace, school, shopping, entertainment, medical visits, library etc. is a factor when moving to a new neighborhood. Economically successful communities are not 100% dependent on automobiles as the sole means of mobility. Seniors, students, and low- and middle-income people need these transportation alternatives. Investment in public transportation today contributes to economic growth, employment and a stronger economy. Dollar for dollar, it is one of the best investments we can make.

What better way to honor late President Johnson and all that has been achieved these past 52 years than by continuing funding the Highway Trust Fund and Mass Transit Account.

Larry Penner
Great Neck

Support Our Police

To The Editor:

Police actions in Ferguson, Missouri, New York City, Baltimore, Baton Rouge and Minnesota have been in the news, and a few police officers have been seen using excessive force and shooting people. I believe a small number of police officers use excessive force, and these officers should be held accountable for their actions.

The vast majority of police officers diligently do their duty and treat criminals and suspects with respect. Unfortunately, police officers are being vilified and attacked because of a few over-zealous officers. The result is police officers can become hesitant to take actions that could possibly be construed as too forceful, and thereby criminals are emboldened to commit violence. Unfortunately, this could have been the situation leading to the murder of the Dallas police officers. And by the way, why aren’t people on the streets protesting the killing of the five Dallas police officers?

The ramifications of hesitation by police officers in doing their jobs are that it can place their lives in jeopardy, and have a negative effect on public safety.

We need to support our police officers who risk their lives every day to keep us safe.

Donald Moskowitz
Londonderry, NH

Police Are Guardians

To The Editor:

I was pleased to learn that Mount Sinai Queens hospital celebrated its 17th anniversary. Congratulations! Yes, health care is great in Astoria and so are doctors like Dr. Joannow, who visits the residences of homebound frail elderly and disabled seniors. Even though housecalls and personal attention is no longer a regular part of medical practice, Dr. Joannow visits her patients every month and makes a difference in their medical and emotional life. She is a shining role model of caring and compassion and professional medical know-how.

I believe strongly that attacks against police must be classified as hate crimes and more stringent prison sentences must be given to those who inflict harm on police officers.

Police are our guardians, and so are EMS workers, and they risk their lives every day to ensure our safety and our health.

Cynthia Groopman
Little Neck

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