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To the Editor:
Finally, the issue of public transportation for The Valley is front and center! Let's not let this opportunity pass.
I have been writing to our state representative and senator, the VT AOT, and GMTA for several years to try to get action on this issue. We need public transportation around The Valley and especially from The Valley to Montpelier. The cost of gas, the condition of our roads, and the need to reduce greenhouse gases make it imperative that we put in place public transportation as soon as possible.
Many of the dozens, if not hundreds, of us who commute daily to work in Waterbury and the Montpelier area need reliable, convenient public transportation. Our kids need access to public transportation so they can visit friends, attend sporting or other events, etc. without relying on parents to drive them. The elderly, and those without vehicles, need access to public transportation to get around safely and affordably.
Two things will make or break the success of a commuter route -- the identification of safe, convenient places in each town to leave one's car when commuting and reliable schedules.
We can each pay our very small share now to bring in public transportation via town appropriations, or we can pay much more individually in the form of higher taxes for road maintenance, escalating costs at the pump and car repairs, not to mention a damaged environment and continued international conflict over access to oil.
I hope that our town boards vote to approve the funds to begin service as soon as possible. With astronomical winter heating costs around the corner, cutting transportation costs is urgent. If necessary, I believe our boards should divert already appropriated funds from various non-critical projects (such as the tree fund or recreation projects) to help fund the upfront cost. A bond to raise the funds should also be considered. If emergency votes are required to do this, then please schedule them. 2010 is far too long to wait for public transportation.