Raise gas tax
Recently NCDOT held public meetings presenting planned highway improvements for the Triangle. That is good news.
Unfortunately, many of these projects are not scheduled to begin for three to 10 years..
However, if you ask almost anyone who travels the highways in this area about the current congestion, he or she will tell you that the improvements are needed now.
The congestion causes emission pollution, stress (which affects health), and wastes time that could be spent on more enjoyable pursuits.
Alternative means of transportation will help, but they will not solve the problem because of the housing spread of this area.
More highway funds are needed now.
On July 1, 13 states raised their tax on gasoline but North Carolina was not one of them.
Would people rather suffer in congestion or pay for an increased user fee on gasoline or vehicle registration?
Alan L. Tharp, Raleigh
Gun bill flawed
House Bill 499 is a comprehensive rewrite of gun laws.
It does something valuable by recognizing that any weapon which can be fired one-handed is a handgun. But unfortunately it ends the sheriff permit requirement for any weapon. That is a bad idea.
It also ends concealed carry permit training requirements. This is a bad idea.
Training should be required for anyone carrying a handgun in the presence of strangers. They should know that death comes out the muzzle,and that you don’t touch the trigger until after acquiring the target.
They should also be able to hit a big nearby target and should also know what to do if stopped by police.
Dedicated volunteers are available to give the training nearly free. That’s why ending training requirements is a bad idea. They should be extended to open carry.
George Reeves, Raleigh
An expensive failure
Regarding “After outcry from educators, NC will delay use of computer-based reading test,” June 28:
The proposed use ofIstation, a computerized program to test reading skills of third graders, will be a dismal failure for students whose reading skills are poor.
This will be true whether the poor readers have intellectual or learning disabilities, attention deficit disorder, cultural deprivation or a lack of English proficiency, lack computer skills, or just do not like reading.
If the student does not read well for whatever reason, the student will do no better using a computer than a printed page.
Even if the student succeeds in getting into the computer and completing the first pages, it succeeding segments of the test and instructions will get progressively harder.
The student will become frustrated if unable to complete the tasks.
You can assume some students will need assistance from a teacher, aide or volunteer. This will defeat the purpose of using a computerized testing program instead of a teacher-administered test. It will quickly become an expensive failure.
Sally MacLeod Owens, Raleigh
Save forests, climate
“Grant awarded for park where wood pellet plant is planned” (June 21) assumes Enviva Biomass and the wood pellet industry to be beneficial for local communities like the Mississippi one mentioned in this article.
Although bringing new jobs is great, Enviva poses many threats to people’s well-being and our natural environments health.
Research and field work has shown that a vast majority of wood pellets manufactured by Enviva come from native hardwood forests and not just pine trees.
In addition to degrading our Southern forests, Enviva and the wood pellet industry pollute our local communities for the profit of exporting wood pellets to Europe and Asia to be burned for fuel.
Our elected officials need to prevent the wood pellet industry from sacrificing the health of our communities and forests for profit.
Forests are our best defense against the worst effects of climate change.
Joe Lee, Durham
Trump’s census lie
Regarding “Plan to ask citizenship question on census is dropped” (July 3):
The sentence “The Trump administration...has decided to give up its fight to add a question about citizenship to next year’s census. belies what the momentous Supreme Court ruling means.
There was no administrative decision. The fight was already over. Trump and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross lost.
The judicial order was based on the fact that the administration had misrepresented its intention in including the question.
The court told our imperial president to remove the citizenship question and he was forced to comply. He had no recourse.
The court in essence told Trump that he can lie to the American people, but he cannot lie to the judiciary.
Betty and Michael Paesler, Cary