Why is the Portland-to-Milwakie light-rail project such a bad idea? Let’s look at a comparison between New York City and the Portland metro area.

Manhattan has a population of 1.5 million and sits on 23 square miles of land. Can you imagine this many cars on 23 square miles? Many New Yorkers who have a driver’s license do not own a car and use their license only for ID. Here the subway system is full all day long, so it makes money.

In comparison, imagine Manhattan built on Sauvie Island, 32.75 square miles of land. Think that might be too spread out? TriMet’s service area covers a Portland metro area over 550 square miles wide with a population similar to Manhattan’s. It’s too spread out, so the light-rail system is a losing proposition financially.

If we keep spending money on things that are not cost-effective, the metro area will be bankrupt for years to come, affecting our children and grandchildren.

I would suggest: just the buses. I would eliminate many of the bus stops, and with the remaining stops, I would build turnouts, so that the buses don’t interrupt the flow of traffic.

Jeff Molinari


Framework for prosperity

In response to President Obama’s State of the Union Address, I was pleased that the President’s speech led with the need to reduce our nation’s debt and deficits using a balanced, comprehensive approach—including tax and entitlement reform and spending cuts. That is the best way for us to create the economic certainty necessary for our private industries to want to invest and create American jobs.

I share the President’s call for the funding of early childhood education, college affordability initiatives and workforce training programs and believe they are integral steps in generating a workforce that is able to out-research, out-innovate and out-compete the rest of the world. Comprehensive immigration reform, an all-of-the-above energy policy and investments in our nation’s transportation infrastructure are other areas of vital importance if our country is to flourish in the twenty-first century global economy.

I was disappointed that the President failed to mention how Congress must solve the problems of America’s rural communities, who have been hit harder and longer during our economic recovery. Passing a 21st-century farm bill, promoting coherent forest policy that preserves healthy forests and rural communities and reforming our guest worker programs are all issues that Congress must address.

I applaud the President’s announcement of an accelerated withdrawal of our troops from Afghanistan. Now, we should use that money for nation building here at home. That means making sure that our heroes come home to the jobs and investing in the middle class of the future.

The President laid a broad framework for long-term, long-lasting economic prosperity. Only by working together with colleagues on both sides of the aisle, and bipartisan organizations like No Labels, can Congress trust each other, produce results and ensure that our children and grandchildren are left with a better, stronger nation than we inherited.

Congressman Kurt Schrader

D-Clackamas County

Supporting bipartisan agenda

President Obama laid out an economic vision that includes rebuilding our infrastructure, strengthening American manufacturing and overhauling the tax code. If Congress is serious about creating jobs, there is no better place to start than tax reform. Bipartisan tax reforms like the ones I have been working on would create a simpler, more business-friendly tax code that would increase tax revenue without raising tax rates. In fact, we would lower corporate tax rates to make American businesses more competitive—helping businesses to create jobs that pay middle-class wages.

I am also pleased that the President supports the principles behind the Student Right to Know Before You Go initiative I’ve drafted with Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.). We need to work together to ensure that parents and students get the most bang for their educational buck. We will soon be reintroducing the legislation to make sure this happens.

President Obama also got it right by highlighting the importance of national infrastructure as a way to create jobs and rebuild our crumbling bridges and highways. You can’t have big league economic growth with a little league transportation system. I have always believed that private investment follows public investment. That is why I’ve teamed up with Sen. John Hoeven (R-N.D.) to champion the Transportation Regional Infrastructure Project bonds. These bonds, like their predecessors, Build America Bonds, will save local government millions of dollars in financing public works projects. It is time for Congress to build on that success.

It is past time for Congress to take action to address the issue of climate change and the associated health and environmental impacts. Only Congress has sufficient tools to address the global nature of the problem and pursue a solution that will reduce domestic emissions while also keeping us competitive in the world market. I will continue to work to pass laws to address climate change by increasing clean energy use and reducing America’s carbon footprint.

U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden


Assault weapons preposterous

It seems that Mr. Brandenburg (Letters, Feb. 13) not only wants to turn the clock back to the 1780s, but would also have us believe that the so-called Federalist Papers are legally-binding documents. They are not. The papers were written as a series of news articles, and confer no rights or freedoms, least of all the “right to insurrection.”

Insurrection is, by definition, “revolt against established authority” (Websters). The authority of our government is established by the consent of the people through the democratic electoral process. Is Mr. Brandenburg proposing to usurp the will of the people? This idea, in a modern society governed under the rule of law, is preposterous.

I served more than a decade in the military, and have some familiarity with the lethality of assault weapons. Frankly, I am far more concerned about a self-appointed vigilante or “select troop” having access to stockpiles of high-powered weapons, than I am about any overreach by our elected government.

It is time for us to support our President in his effort to enact sensible gun-safety regulations and put a stop to gun violence.

Peter Bellamy

Oregon City

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