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Courier Life's Letters to the Editor

Letter writer: Cuomo reminds me of Wimpy from Popeye

Brooklyn Daily

Toll raise

To the editor,

Governor Cuomo reminds me of the old cartoon character Wimpy who said, “I’ll gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today,” when it comes to him coming clean as to how the state will find $6 billion dollars to pay for replacing the Tappan Zee Bridge.

Previous construction of any new freight, public transportation tunnel, or bridge project takes decades by the time all feasibility studies, environmental reviews, planning, design, engineering, real estate acquisition, permits, procurements, construction, budgeting, and identifying and securing funding is completed. This is before the project reaches beneficial use.

Based on previous planning initiatives, some have estimated a cost for replacing the Tappan Zee Bridge, ranging from $14 to $18 billion. This also could have included options of adding either Bus Rapid Transit, Light Rail, or Heavy Commuter Rail capacity. Not paying for any of these options today, could be penny wise and pound foolish tomorrow. It might cost far more money decades later to construct any public transportation component to an existing bridge.

What was the basis of the new $5 billion estimated cost? Cuomo’s promise to put a shovel in the ground by June 2012 has come and gone. The anticipated final potential cost will never be known until design and engineering is complete. This cost will be further refined by award of construction contracts, followed by any unforeseen site conditions and change orders to the base contracts during the course of construction. No one today can really predict when we will see a shovel in the ground, followed years later by completion of this project or the final price tag to taxpayers.

The only real dedicated funding source for fully funding reconstruction of the Tappan Zee Bridge is raising the toll with additional revenues placed in a lock box to cover costs.

Larry Penner

Great Neck, N.Y.

Wise Dick

To the editor,

These quotes by none other than former president Richard Nixon apply strongly today: “In our own lives let each of us ask not just what government will do for me, but what I can do for myself,” and “By the time you get dressed drive out there, play 18 holes, and come home, you’ve blown seven hours, there are better things you can do with your time.”

If the shoe fits, wear it!

Peter G. Orsi

Marine Park

Dim Hizzoner

To the editor,

We know very well that the late Mayors Wagner, Lindsay, and Beame would have had both Con Edison and the locked-out union at Gracie Mansion for round-the-clock talks. Each of these mayors would have sat there, despite the fact that Con Edison isn’t a city agency.

Other than using profanity at a hot-dog eating contest and his constant bashing of the United Federation of Teachers, where was Mayor Bloomberg during this crisis? He should have actively been involved. We knew he wouldn’t, since we know where his sympathies are regarding this situation. Several summers ago, while parts of Queens were darkened for days, our mayor heaped praise on C.E.O. Kevin Burke!

Bloomberg’s third term has been a disaster beyond belief. This life-long Democrat might consider voting for Mitt Romney if the latter promised to put Bloomberg in a cabinet position. It would be worth it just to get him out of town a year before his term expires.

Ed Greenspan

Sheepshead Bay

Ferry good

To the editor,

You can learn a lot from history when numerous ferries operated to and from lower Manhattan and other locations around the city.

Our waterways are an underutilized natural asset which can offer significant transportation alternatives for thousands of New Yorkers. Most of our existing public transportation and roadways are already operating at or above capacity. New ferry services can be implemented far more quickly than construction of new subway, commuter rail or highways. These can take years or even decades until completion of environmental reviews, planning, design, engineering, real estate acquisition, permits, procurements, and actual construction before reaching beneficial use.

Completing all of the above along with finding funding for ferry boats, docks and parking, with costs in the millions, may be easier than finding the billions of dollars necessary for construction of new or extended subway, commuter rail, or highways. Utilization of ferry boats equipped with modern fuel efficient engines can make a positive contribution to air quality.

In April 1967, the old Jersey Central Rail Road ended ferry service between Liberty Street and Pavonia, N.J. Later that year, in November 1967, the old Erie Lackawana Rail Road suspended ferry service between Barclay Street and Hoboken. Fast forward to today. Thousands of daily commuters use ferries from Hoboken, N.J. to the World Financial Center. There are also 66,000 daily patrons of the Staten Island Ferry System, which connects St. George, Staten Island with the Whitehall Street Ferry Terminal. Unlike the other four boroughs, 500,000 Richmond County residents have no direct subway or commuter rail system linking them with the rest of the city.

Thousands of ferry riders began utilizing the East River ferry more than a year ago, connecting various waterfront neighborhoods. All are now enjoying the fresh air and breeze that only waterborne transportation can provide. Riding a ferry can be less stressful than being packed in a subway car — like sardines in a can.

Larry Penner

Great Neck, N.Y.

Environ-spent

To the editor,

We should restart work on the Alaskan pipeline, so we won’t have to depend on any foreign oil. This pipeline would provide Americans with more jobs. Let’s not worry about the environment. There’s been an earthquake in Haiti, a tsunami in Japan, a volcano in Iceland, and Hurricane Irene here in Brooklyn — those already upset the environment and have ramifications for nearby areas.

Cecelia Kleinbart

Midwood

‘Defiant’ kids

To the editor,

Unfortunately, with all the violence occurring this summer, the public may finally start to appreciate what teachers in the city school system have to go through.

We are dealing with youngsters who refuse to accept authority. They come to school defiant, disruptive, and their agenda is that no one learns anything when they’re around. Coming to school with a sheet of paper in a back pocket is not exactly the same thing as carrying books.

How would you like to be rated as being ineffective because of these students? Most of the problems that we’re seeing result from the lack of discipline in the home and the schools. The youth of today sees what they can get away with, and therefore are emboldened to go on and do worse things.

I’d like to see the mayor, chancellor, and our newspaper editorial boards deal with these so-called students for one hour in a classroom. They wouldn’t last. Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott, you would find this situation much more difficult than being in charge of a day-school center for two years.

Yes, let’s get the guns off the streets, but let’s also focus on discipline in the schools. The mayor, chancellor, the U.F.T. and C.S.A. never mention this. We desperately need the 600 schools for the unruly. Of course, many of the disrupters belong in jail. We need work-study programs for older problem children. We don’t need the nonsense of cooperative learning, alternate assessments, longer day and year, and being told by a supervisor that you’re not motivating them, especially when the supervisor comes from the Leadership Academy and never taught a day.

Ed Greenspan

Sheepshead Bay

Reach reporter Shavana Abruzzo at sabruzzo@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-2529.

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