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Letters to the Editor

Bipartisan magpies

| Wednesday, April 23, 2003

Your shortsightedness and ideological knee-jerk reaction demeans your newspaper ("Maglev magpies," Editorials, March 29).

We have in maglev an advanced transportation system with the potential of becoming a U.S.-wide industry based here. We have in Maglev Inc. a Pittsburgh-based, 12-member, private-public consortium and a federal initiative to partially fund a self-sustaining, intercity mass transit system using new technologies.

Your position is uninformed, inaccurate and misleading.

Your editorial states: "(M)any of Pennsylvania's most influential leaders have sung the praises of a proposed magnetic-levitation train. It's the transportation wave of the future, these maglev magpies cackle." Using "magpies," suggesting that they are only repeating what they have heard, diminishes you. They are not just repeating the story of maglev.

Maglev is being developed by Germany, Japan and the United States. Two systems are in operation now: the first commercial system in China, the other in Germany. Your referenced "magpies" are none other than Sens. Arlen Specter and Rick Santorum, Allegheny County Chief Executive Jim Roddey, the Bush administration -- all Republican -- and Democratic Gov. Ed Rendell. It's a bipartisan effort. Some magpies.

"The estimated cost is $3.1 billion." Wrong. Check with Maglev Inc. The total projected cost is $4.5 billion. But that's not the issue. You were trying to suggest what the public portion is. The federal portion: $955 million; Pennsylvania: $344 million; Allegheny County: $28 million; the remainder is private, that being $3.2 billion.

Please get your facts straight.

George Kniss Moon Township

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