Letters to the Editor

Turnpike commissioners and PennDot could join forces on various highway duties.
Turnpike commissioners and PennDot could join forces on various highway duties. (CHARLES FOX / Staff Photographer)
Posted: March 29, 2013

Turnpike already reform-minded

At the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission, we recognize that the recent action by Attorney General Kathleen Kane jeopardizes public confidence ("Playing by the Turnpike Commission's rules of the road," March 17). But the rules of the road have changed for the better already.

In the past two years, the commissioners instituted a more rigorous, transparent process for awarding professional-services contracts to ensure that only the most qualified firms are considered. In addition, we created an Office of Compliance to ensure that employee conduct remains above reproach at every level. Recently, we began a review of professional-services contracts awarded during the period covered by Kane's inquiry. And we are forming an advisory group to review and critique all current procurement practices.

Pennsylvania has been well-served by a toll road independent from the state Department of Transportation, as evidenced by our massive, toll-funded rebuilding project now underway to promote long-term safety and efficiency. However, we would welcome a study of a possible merger to measure the long-term impact on PennDot and the turnpike's finances. Even now, our agencies are working closely to identify commonsense measures to increase efficiency, including a collaborative effort since mid-2011 known as "Mapping the Future." We are sharing expenses in areas like training and facilities design, and studying other alliances to share costs.

Mark P. Compton, chief executive officer, Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission

French role in Syria only fitting

In her column on the laudable leadership by the French and British in Syria, Trudy Rubin neglected to mention the Sykes Picot agreement by which Europe divvied up the Ottoman Empire ("On Syria, France leads," March 21). France got Syria. So I'd support a no-fly zone, but let's let our friends the French do the heavy lifting in Syria - since they once owned the place.

John Powers, Woodbury

Time right to legalize gay bonds

The favorable public shift toward legalizing gay marriage doesn't surprise me, but I am amazed at the speed with which attitudes have changed in just 20 years. It is clear that people under 30 are driving this trend. I, for one, welcome the shift and note that, as the old cliché says, "Nothing is more powerful than an idea whose time has come."

Ken Derow, Swarthmore

Lifting bushel basket from lamp

Why talk about the Catholic Church in hushed, almost embarrassed tones? On a typical day, the church performs its global ministries on a level that is stunning compared to that of any other organization. Look at the thousands of colleges and hospitals that the church maintains, and the hundreds of thousands of parish schools and charities. Then, imagine what the world would look like without them.

These good works are a sign of divine guidance and should be a source of encouragement. And the entire world benefits from them, even though nobody wants to talk about it. But then, when the founder of the church healed 10 lepers, he was thanked by only one of them. So, even today, ingratitude really knows no bounds.

Joseph Carducci, Pittsburgh

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