Transportation for the '90s

Regarding the front-page article "L.A. Residents Jam New Subway, But Some Call It a `White Elephant,' " Feb. 8: If Los Angeles can build a successful subway system, there is hope for other cities. The Detroit metropolitan area is even more dependent on automobile transportation than Los Angeles, and the results have been devastating to our community. With no public rail or subway transportation and only minimal bus services, car ownership has become a virtual necessity for employment. Unfortunately, 35 p ercent of Detroit city residents do not have transportation to get to suburban jobs.

In addition to reducing pollution, rail systems save billions of dollars that would otherwise be spent on car maintenance, fuel, insurance, litigation, road construction, and parking facilities. More important, the fact that automobile accidents kill nearly 50,000 Americans each year shows that we need safer alternatives to driving.

The Los Angeles subway is a necessary investment in sensible transportation. Steven J. Philips, Royal Oak, Mich.

Letters are welcome. Only a selection can be published, subject to condensation, and none acknowledged. Please address them to "Readers Write," One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115.

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