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Friday, February 15, 2013
Recent attempts by Virginia politicians to eliminate the commonwealth's relatively small gasoline tax are misguided and should be reversed. A proposal under which the state sales tax would be increased in order to eliminate the gasoline tax would harm Virginia's residents and businesses. More importantly, it would be an unfair piece of legislation, particularly for Southwest Virginians.
A gasoline tax is a fair, if imprecise, way of ensuring that those who most use the roads pay the most for their upkeep.
The more one drives on publicly maintained roads, the more he pays for gasoline, and by extension, the more he pays in taxes. Using revenues collected from an increase in the statewide sales tax to maintain Virginia's roads would eliminate this system of funding.
Southwest Virginians should be leery of any attempt to increase the indiscriminate amount of taxes we pay for the repair and construction of new roads in other parts of the state.
As we spend less time in traffic and subsequently in gasoline expenditures, we would see fewer benefits of this legislation than Virginians living in more congested areas.
I urge voters to call on their elected officials to oppose any such proposal.
Roanoke symphony performed brilliantly
On Feb. 10, the sold-out crowd at Jefferson Center was transfixed with a world-class performance of Masterworks III, the Roanoke Symphony.
Two questions one can ask:
Who can play Vivaldi's entire "The Four Seasons" from memory?
Akemi Takayama, violinist.
Who can play the harpsichord facing the audience and conduct the symphony at the same time?
David Stewart Wiley, music director and conductor.
Amazing and wonderful! Roanoke can be very proud of its symphony.
JULIA M. FALLON
Sign on to Amtrak's reservation system
A person wanting a better job dresses for the future, not the current, position. Roanoke should follow this strategy and select the Amtrak reservation system for the Smart Way Connector Bus, starting in July.
Amtrak will stop in Roanoke by 2018 or sooner. Recent official rider numbers will push the parties to resolve the remaining issues of a stable source of funding for state-supported Amtrak trains and needed infrastructure improvements.
Virginia is at the nation's epicenter for regional ridership growth: The D.C.-Newport News train placed third and the D.C.-Lynchburg train placed second. Every station from Alexandria to Lynchburg is recording strong growth (up to 38.1percent at the Burke Centre).
Amtrak's reservation system has distinct advantages:
So, Roanoke, select the reservation system of the future, not the past.
Virginia Association of Railroad Patrons
Wrong on the math, right on substance
Kudos to sharp-eyed reader Russ Orrison ("Math error undercuts defense of teachers," Feb. 13 letter) for catching the haste-induced miscalculation of the proportion of the nation's teachers produced by Teach for America. It is approximately three-tenths of 1 percent.
I stand by my statement that leaders must look more broadly to develop appropriate solutions for staffing our nation's schools.
Weather Journal7 wintry scenarios for Sunday