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Suggestions to Help Clear the Air

March 20, 1994

* Ask any commuter in the New York and San Francisco metropolitan areas and you will get an answer as to how satisfied they are with their current public transit system, so much so that most do not even own a car. (Jack) Mallinckrodt may be right in pointing out that it now costs $37,000 per year for each vehicle removed from the street.

However, one must accept that a prototype of anything, such as our current transit system, is always proportionately far more expensive. Perhaps the only reason why no more people are using it today is due to its limited coverage in getting one from point A to point B. Personally, I will gladly give up dodging traffic and slamming the brakes for the peace and tranquillity in a subway or monorail train.

As for incentive to dispose of those smog-sprouting older automobiles, perhaps we should reverse the current system by adopting Singapore's system in taxing any auto 10 years or older at a higher rate of up to 25% per year on the original purchase price of the car versus a smaller percentage for newer cars.

By employing this two-prong approach, we will likely surpass the federal clean air requirement instead of having to beg for exemptions year after year. Perhaps those in the Drivers for Highway Safety pack will always be tethered to their autos, come hell or high water. However, they certainly do not have the right to deprive the rest of us of a chance to liberate ourselves from our automobiles and the right to breathe some invisible air for a change.

JOHN T. CHIU

Corona del Mar

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