The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

December 31, 2013

Readers' Forum 12-31 | Keep transportation bill money here

Submitted by Readers

JOHNSTOWN — It is unreal what our state has done with this new transportation bill that Gov. Tom Corbett recently signed. He promises that our infrastructure (our roads and bridges) be repaired or replaced. I don’t mind using our tax dollars for this, not send it to Philadelphia. There are a lot of roads around here that need attention and I for one don’t want my money sent or even spent somewhere I don’t live at.

This is about as bad as Obamacare. Have any of our House or Senate representatives read this 127-page bill? Probably not.

So now every Pennsylvanian will now have to dig more in our empty pockets to pay up for vehicle registration, pay more for gas and everything else that we can’t afford but we will still have potholes no matter what happens. Thanks Corbett.

Paul Schonvisky


Bill gets funding from user fee

I read a Readers’ Forum letter Dec. 23 by Dennis Naugle, “New year off to a bad start,” suggesting the state should have “tried to get money from other sources before hitting the taxpayers” for roads and bridges.

I’m not sure where the confusion is, but the transportation bill does exactly what the writer asks. It does not get money from the taxpayers. The bill gets funding from basically a user fee. The user is actually anybody that buys fuel in Pennsylvania, not Pennsylvania taxpayers.

So anybody from any other state or country that uses our roads helps us pay to build and maintain our roads and bridges. I can’t think of a fairer tax than that.

Taxpayers fund many programs that they do not utilize and we pay real estate taxes to school districts where we may not have students attending. I guess we could have a giant bake sale to raise funds for roads. I’m not sure that will get any traction, but if it does I know someone that makes a great banana bread.

Also comparing state fuel taxes to other states is not a fair assessment. Other states may not be taxed as much on fuel, but they fund road work out of their general funds too, not just their gas tax. In Pennsylvania, fuel taxes are used only for highway and bridge-related work, and, to a small extent, Pennsylvania state police patrol these roads.

Gov. Tom Corbett set out to fund road and bridge construction as a top priority and with the help of the legislature passed the fairest way to achieve it.

Jim Vasilko

Richland Township

Flying local offers numerous benefits

Flight service from the Johnstown Airport to Dulles is once again imperiled.

As a frequent user of the airport for the past 10 years, I know that our present air service provides numerous travel advantages:

n Free and safe parking within a short walk of the terminal.

n An uncommonly clean, comfortable terminal.

n An on-site restaurant.

n Courteous and helpful airline counter personnel.

n No wait TSA screening by friendly and professional agents.

n Comfortable seating in a 34-passenger aircraft with restroom.

n People movers, trains and handicapped assistance at Dulles to help you get quickly to your gate.

n Numerous international and domestic connections at Dulles provided by a variety of airlines.

n United Airlines offers competitive fares contrasted with “low cost” competitors who often charge “hidden extras” for even your first bag and seating your party together. Plus United Airlines provides convenient automatic bag transfers while certain “low cost” airlines may not.

Local travelers who opt to drive to other airports incur expenses for gas, hotel room plus tax charges, additional meals, parking, turnpike tolls, shuttle fees and tips. These expenses can easily exceed the cost of the round trip airfare between Johnstown and Dulles.

I encourage travelers to “fly local” and reap these benefits.

Our current Silver Airways and United Airlines partnership service to Dulles vastly outperforms past experiences when US Air flew us into the Pittsburgh airport, which now offers far fewer connections than Dulles.

I also encourage cooperation and dialogue between the airport authority, Silver Airways, flyers and potential flyers so that we preserve and improve still further upon our current service.

Orlando B. Hanselman


Thank you for making Christmas unforgettable

I would like to tell you a story that happened to me on Dec. 22. I was trying to do a good deed by letting a homeless mother and daughter stay at my house for a few days. The daughter was very disrespectful towards me and stole $64 out of my wallet plus a $25 gift card. She was underage and came back drunk and denied stealing my money.

The money was all I had to finish my Christmas shopping. I went to Beulah United Methodist Church in tears and explained everything to some of the choir members. I was presented with all of the money that she stole. My two children and I also received a gift. Needless to say, I was in shock, flabbergasted and speechless.

I want to publicly thank everyone who contributed and helped me in my time of need. I am forever grateful. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. Everyone made my bad Christmas into one I will never forget. Thank you Beulah United Methodist Church members for everything you have done. There really are good people who care in this world.

Darlene R. Null