I-69 would create another Anytown, USA

In response to your Dec. 9 article "Paving NAFTA's highway": Despite strong stances by the Federal Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Interior, Department of Agriculture, emission regulatory agencies, and many individuals who have hand-carried to the governor more than 154,000 signatures adverse to a new-terrain NAFTA highway, the Indiana Department of Transportation insists on ignoring opposition.

It continues to propose expensive new-terrain routes that will cost up to $800 million more than upgrading an existing four-lane highway that already connects Evansville in the southwestern corner of the state to Indianapolis. The carrot held out by developers and big business is that of jobs.

Indiana is fourth in the US in interstate highways - and first in job loss. There is no guarantee of new jobs and no justification for pork-barrel spending. Kentucky was wise to spend its highway dollars on upgrading state and local roads. Indiana would be wise to do the same.
John Loveland
Spencer, Ind.

Thank you for "Paving NAFTA's highway." The local press in Bloomington, Ind., have apparently taken sides with the Indiana Department of Transportation and cannot seem to find a reason why we shouldn't build a new-terrain highway through the beautiful rolling farmlands of southern Indiana.

My husband and I just recently moved to a farm that is two miles from a potential route, and we are not interested in listening to a NAFTA highway all day; we moved here to get away from the hustle and bustle of cities. We live about a mile from a small town whose only business is a general store. Two-thirds of the houses would be destroyed if this route is chosen. Another town five miles south would be all but wiped out.

The devastation to the lives of these people is unthinkable, yet this is what will happen all along the route. Is it worthwhile to save 15 minutes driving through the southern half of the state, by spending $600 million to create a few gas-station and fast-food jobs en route?

Many people in Indiana have bought the sales pitch that the highway will bring benefits to their local economies. Why would a highway stop a company from moving to a place where wages are much lower? Transportation is not the issue. I wish more people could see this as a beautiful, unspoiled, rare environment rather than turn it into an Anytown, USA, on another superhighway.
Jeanne Leimkuhler
Bloomington, Ind.

Going public with postal

Regarding your Dec. 12 editorial "Privatizing the public's mail": Perhaps they could take a leaf from the book of other national postal services. I can't speak for other countries, but in Australia the postal service is still government-owned insofar as the service is a profitable corporation with the government as its sole shareholder.

To be sure, there was pain of transition to an efficient enterprise, but this was tackled years ago and the result is an organization that maintains excellent service across the nation at a fixed price, which has remained stable for most of the past decade.

Australia Post has achieved this through efficiency and strategic positioning in the marketplace. Post Offices offer over-the-counter banking facilities and electronic lodgment services, act as retail outlets for office products, and supply many services ideally suited to a country-wide network of offices in every city, suburb, and town.

Efficiency doesn't necessitate private ownership, but smart management starting at the top is a must, no matter who owns it.
Jason Stone
Toowoomba, Queensland,

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