November 2, 2011

Elizabeth and George Vary [letters, Oct. 31] stated that “in no case” should a gas tax “fund new non-motorist projects,” namely public transit. Yet, if the objective is to relieve congestion for motorists, the choice must be transit. This is the only way to move as many people for as little cost as possible and to get cars off the roads.

The $1.9 billion cost of the Purple Line is still less than the $2.6 billion Maryland is paying for the Intercounty Connector, even though the Purple Line will serve more people and generate growth where it’s needed most. A plan to revitalize the MARC commuter train system for less than $4 billion by 2035 would serve the entire Baltimore and Washington region and beyond. However, this plan was never funded, although a $3.4 billion proposal to widen Interstate 270, which does much less, has been given preliminary approval. It’s only the expensive highway plans that seem to go forward, even though they invariably generate sprawl and congestion and require additional billions for new infrastructure.

Ethan Goffman, Rockville

The writer is chairman of the Montgomery County Sierra Club transit committee.