Living and commuting on the San Francisco Bay Area peninsula, the U.S. 101 corridor, and often traveling in rush-hour traffic, I am seldom hindered by the mess. With the exception of a complete road closure, I maintain forward momentum on my motorcycle throughout my commute via legal use of the commuter high-occupancy vehicle lanes. I realize that motorcycles may be an answer for only a small percentage of commuters part of the time (I use mine daily), but the desire for rapid commute times should be enough to persuade many drivers to try one. Add lower initial cost and half the average fuel consumption of four-wheeled vehicles along with the fun factor, and, to me and an elite few, vehicles with more than two wheels are not an option for the daily grind.
I live approximately 14 miles from my workplace in midtown Manhattan. Every morning my commute on public transportation, using the express bus costing twice the regular subway fare, takes me from 45 minutes to 1
Your cover story on traffic congestion makes little of the important fact that travel times in Los Angeles have dropped over the past decade, despite considerable population growth. One important reason is increasingly dispersed employment. You report that Los Angeles "is undergoing a veritable transit boom," but Los Angeles County transit ridership peaked in 1985, the year L.A. County diverted sales tax revenues from the bus fleet to a capital account to fund rail lines. Bus fares went up, ridership went down, and 22 years later total L.A. transit ridership on buses and trains has yet to recover. Los Angeles can make good use of additional transit but not of Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's "subway to the sea."
JAMES E. MOORE II
Professor and Chair
Daniel J. Epstein Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering
University of Southern California
In the article about gridlocked roads, the president of the American Trucking Associations, Bill Graves, was quoted as saying "there is certainly a strongly held belief . . . that roads . . . are free." The magic government wand didn't build them. Americans' taxes paid for the nation's highways, city streets, and freeways, and gas taxes are supposedly used to maintain them.
"Looking for Trouble" [May 7] warns of the threat to civilian aviation from shoulder-fired missiles, which are all too available to terrorists on the black market. While the report focused on delays in fielding antimissile systems for civilian aircraft, and paints a local police officer patrolling the perimeter of an airport as "virtually the only protection against shoulder-fired missiles," there is another card we're playing. Operating worldwide, the State Department has gone on the offensive, securing and destroying shoulder-fired missiles that might otherwise fall into terrorist hands. Thanks in part to legislation I pushed in 2006, the State Department jumped its funding request for this program from about $8.5 million to $44 million. Congress should honor this request, giving police officers circling airports a bigger helping hand.
REP. ED ROYCE
House Subcommittee on Terrorism, Nonproliferation, and Trade