It’s commendable that Mayor-elect Dan Horrigan has asked his Blue Ribbon Task Force to assess Akron Fulton International Airport’s “long-term safety and viability.” Prior Akron leaders should also be commended for their decision to close a section of state Route 59 in downtown that’s been the site of the most accidents in Summit County.

Decisions to modernize Akron’s state Route 8 years ago and pending upgrades of I-76 were also likely driven by leaders who understood how outdated roadways affect safety.

Messages along interstates alert us to ever-climbing Ohio highway deaths, up 15 percent to nearly 1,000 fatalities. This suggests that many more roads, bridges and railroad crossings designed around the time of Akron’s airport also should be evaluated.

The Ohio Department of Transportation has already done something like this for pubic transit, identifying a $273.5 million funding backlog to bring the state’s transit fleet (except rail vehicles) up to good repair.

It further identified a future transit system funding gap of $469 million for urban areas and $93 million in rural areas to accommodate the nearly 140 million urban and rural annual transit trips projected just 10 years from now.

Ohio is must be prepared to handle growth. With public transit being one of the safest travel modes, this investment would have important long-term safety and economic development benefits.

Rising fatalities on our highways should spur the same urgent call to action as aviation fatalities.

Richard M. Enty

Executive director/secretary-treasurer

METRO Regional Transit Authority

Akron

Infrared eye ?on gas leaks

I was pleased by Bob Downing’s Nov. 23 article about Earthworks’ monitoring of gas leaks with an infrared camera (“Pollution can’t evade this camera”).

The organization’s work clarifies a very important point. About two years ago, at a public meeting on “fracking,” I asked an oil and gas driller how much methane (a serious greenhouse gas) was leaking from his extraction process.

He told us there was no way of knowing, there is always some leakage and no one monitors leakage on a regular basis.

Ned DeLamatre

Akron

After Paris, ?blinded by fear

As I scroll through social media, I am astonished at the number of people, such as Gov. Kasich, in support of plans that call for a refusal to admit Syrian refugees. In the wake of the terrible Paris tragedies I am horrified at the number of people conflating Islam with the beliefs of ISIS.

I am appalled at the hate I see radiating from the American people. As I reflect upon recent events and grapple with these issues, one question clings in my mind: When did we lose our humanity?

When did we forget that Syrians, or anyone else for that matter, are humans, too? We are blinded by fear. Labels and identities have become so pervasive that we have forgotten that we are all people.

While we must act resolutely and decisively, submitting to hysteria, fear and exaggerated risks blinds us. As compassion and benevolence dwindle, I fear this blindness will give us the impudence to destroy each other.

Stacey Slagle

Stow

Let voters decide

I am responding to the Nov. 11 letter “Smart move at the polls.” I did not realize hippies were dumb, and marijuana is definitely not a gateway drug anymore than beer is a gateway to whiskey.

I, too, know what the effects of smoking pot are; it is recreational, just like having a beer after work. I am not lazy or lethargic. I am a college graduate, retired after working 50 years.

The writer said, “Everybody I knew who smoked pot was stupid.” That statement is stupid. We had a president who tried it.

Marijuana did not make the writer wreck his car; he did that on his own. Some people have addictive personalities. It could be alcohol or pot. You are not going to change that.

Let intelligent people decide whether to use it responsibly at home. I do think Issue 3 could have been better.

John C. Stouffer

Akron