Dredge the Delaware

While the Philadelphia Regional Port Authority lauds Gov. Rendell for his courageous support of the long overdue channel deepening, allow me to reiterate facts that have been misstated over time.

That the "Delaware River Port Authority has been held hostage to an unseemly test of wills between Pennsylvania and New Jersey politicians" (editorial, April 27) over dredging should come as a surprise to the DRPA, since in 1987 it agreed to act as local sponsor of the project.

In 1999 the majority of Pennsylvania and New Jersey commissioners agreed to enter a project cooperation agreement with the Army Corps of Engineers and set aside $50 million in capital budget funds for the project.

That resolution has not been rescinded by the DRPA board. Rendell, as DRPA chairman, is simply demanding that the authority carry out the terms of a legally binding resolution authorized eight years ago.

No one in the maritime industry on either side of the river opposes the project. Opposition to the project based on "environmental hazards" is simply fictitious. The Army Corps of Engineers has spent $7 million on environmental analyses of the project.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Fish and Wildlife Service, Geological Survey, Government Accountability Office, National Marine Fisheries Services, and the two states' environmental agencies have found the project to be environmentally benign. Studies of the economic benefits of the project are clear:

The region - not just Pennsylvania, as some New Jersey officials falsely claim - would see an increase in waterborne commerce as we are able to accommodate larger vessels.

Brian J. Preski
Chairman
Phila. Regional Port Authority

Better air scheduling

Tom Belden perpetuates some myths in his "Road Warrior" blog posting ("The quiet truth of FAA redesign: Many benefit," philly.com, May 7) in favor of the FAA's airspace redesign, which would allow fully fueled and fully throttled jets across Delaware County at low altitudes.

He says "the point of creating more pathways in the sky, of course, is to reduce flight delays at Philadelphia and New York-area airports" and "move traffic more efficiently."

The skies around airports are overcrowded, not because planes can't take off more quickly, but rather because too many airlines greedily attempt to send out and receive too many flights around the lucrative rush hours of morning and late afternoon.

If the FAA wants to improve efficiency it can do it tomorrow by mandating a realistic schedule. The airlines will howl that the rules are impeding their profits, but that would put the problem in their backyard.

Belden also writes that "low-fare airlines that have saved Philadelphia travelers millions of dollars through competition simply would not be here without the freedom to schedule as many flights as their customers want."

I'm pretty sure airline competition will continue even if flights are spaced apart in a realistic schedule.

Geoff Semenuk
Swarthmore
The writer is a member of the Swarthmore Borough Council. His views here are not on behalf of the council.

War needs leaders

A reader ("Will U.S. capitulate?" Friday) uses the deaths of two soldiers from Doylestown as political props, complaining that Democrats want to withdraw from Iraq rather than "support the troops." I wonder if this reader believes the British should have left their troops to die on the beaches of Dunkirk in 1940 as a show of "support."

War is not a one-way street. We demand sacrifice and bravery on the part of our soldiers, but we also demand wisdom and judgment on the part of our political leaders. In Iraq we've had the sacrifice and bravery but also a catastrophic failure of wisdom and judgment. Please, don't tell us more funerals are required in Doylestown to "support the troops."

Mark Roderick
Moorestown