Regarding the proposed privatization of the Dulles Toll Road [front page, July 26]:

Government at all levels seems to be controlled by people who believe it should operate like a business. They forget that the purpose of government is to promote the welfare of the people. The sale of public assets to private companies serves only to improve the profits of private companies.

In his Gettysburg Address, Abraham Lincoln did not say "of the people, by the people, for the profit."

JOYCE McCUSKER-SCHAAL

Vienna

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Dulles Toll Road profits for 50 years appear to be $5 billion to $10 billion, so it's unsurprising that a consortium would be willing to buy that income stream for $1 billion.

Why not tell the consortium that building Metro's extension through the toll road's right of way -- i.e., West Falls Church to Dulles International Airport -- must be part of the offer? That way, at least we'd get something out of the deal -- Metro to the airport by, say, 2012 -- instead of waiting years to figure out how to pay for it.

And why separate automobile and train travel in the same corridor? Wouldn't the proposed consortium do whatever it could to discourage train travel in the corridor, given that it would benefit from auto toll revenue?

Combining road and rail under one private collective would allow a more balanced approach to meeting regional transportation goals.

CRAIG MUIR

Sterling