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Irvine Voters Send a CenterLine Message

June 15, 2003

Although your coverage of the CenterLine debate in Irvine has been detailed and generally accurate, your headline "Irvine Says No to CenterLine" describing Tuesday's election results is very misleading. It just as accurately (but less tidily) could have read "Irvine Says No to No CenterLine."

When two competing ballot measures deal with the same subject, voters often turn them both down. Irvine voted to keep light rail as a component in its transportation planning. Voters rejected a particular CenterLine alignment. The best headline would have been "Irvine Vote Sends Mixed Message on Rail."

Alex Mintzer

Orange

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Re "Irvine Says No to CenterLine," June 4:

Kudos to our neighbors in Irvine for having the wisdom June 3 to veto the CenterLine project as proposed for their community.

With almost no exceptions, light rail has proved to be far from an economical and effective way to meet the transportation demands of most areas in this country. Such projects have never come close to the original cost estimates to build them -- sometimes exceeding estimates by 400% or more. Nor have they come close to the ridership figures projected. They have always fallen short of generating enough revenue to meet even the most modest goals. Massive government subsidies are always required just to keep them running.

I don't want to dump my hard-earned dollars into a transportation bottomless pit just to further inflate the already enormous egos of a few local politicians. The estimated cost to complete the project through Santa Ana, Costa Mesa to Irvine was $1.4 billion. If we must spend that kind of money, we would be better off giving every one of the projected 21,000 riders a new, economical hybrid car and still have nearly $1 billion left to fix potholes and hire more teachers, police officers and firefighters. If we need better public transportation, part of that money can be used to buy more environmentally friendly buses -- which historically have outperformed light rail as people-movers by a huge margin.

Geoff West

Costa Mesa

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Congratulations to Irvine voters who voted against the CenterLine project. You have succeeded in keeping Orange County transportation in the 18th century.

Bruce Konschuh

Fullerton

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