Letters: The way to travel
November 16, 2012 11:08PM
Updated: December 19, 2012 11:14AM
In response to the Herald-News’ Oct. 25 editorial expressing doubt about the popularity of high-speed rail between Chicago and St. Louis, I am happy to report that the state of Illinois remains excited about the project.
And the excitement is not just a result of the recent successful test run of 110-mph service between Dwight and Pontiac nor of our plan for the public to begin to experience high-speed rail travel over Thanksgiving weekend on that segment of the route.
This first high-speed service is a significant step toward meeting ever-increasing public demand for alternatives to the car, and even the airplane. The public clearly sees value today in improved passenger-train service.
During the past six years, ridership on Amtrak trains supported by the state has nearly doubled to 1.8 million passengers. Chicago-St. Louis ridership alone is up more than 200 percent. Why? Perhaps it’s because passengers on a train can relax or work by computer, phone, email or text, productively and safely. They don’t have to negotiate clogged city roads or drive long distances when drowsy. They don’t have to pay exorbitant parking fees or fuel costs. Rail travel is the growing preference among young adults, as evidenced by statistics from Western Illinois University in Macomb, a popular stop on Amtrak’s Chicago-Quincy route. An additional daily round-trip added in 2006, along with additional local transit offerings in Macomb, reduced the percentage of WIU students with cars from 80 percent to 60 percent between 1998 and 2012 and the number of campus parking passes issued from 10,500 to 5,600.
The people using and benefiting from improved train service across Illinois are telling us why this is so valuable, if only we will listen to them.
Ann L. Schneider,
Illinois Department of Transportation
Ruling will cost jobs
On Oct. 31, the Illinois Liquor Control Commission ruled Anheuser-Busch InBev (ABI) could continue to hold an interest in four Illinois distributorships despite a law enacted June 1, 2011, prohibiting brewers from owning beer distributorships. This ruling is contrary to public policy established by our Legislature and fully conflicts with Illinois’ three-tier regulatory distribution system.
Every state regulates alcohol by using some form of a three-tier regulatory system (manufacturer, distributor, and retailer). Distributors are intended to be an independent licensee separating a brewer from a retailer. Brewer ownership of a distributorship is vertical integration of the three-tier system, thereby destroying the purpose of the three-tier system.
There also are concerns about Illinois’ job loss. In 2008, ABI, a Belgium-based international corporation, slashed costs of the combined company by $1.1 billion on the backs of American workers — it laid off approximately 1,400 people, about 6 percent of its U.S. work force. By 2011, ABI was able to pay off a significant portion of the $54 billion it had borrowed to finance the Anheuser-Busch takeover, and 40 executives split $1.3 billion in stock-option bonuses.
Also interesting is that this foreign entity, that reaps profits from North America, has no North American on its board of directors — particularly since in North America, ABI generates around 42 percent of its revenue.
The Associated Beer Distributors of Illinois, a not-for-profit business trade association, represents, maintains and improves the interests of its members who distribute beer of all brewers. Distributors are licensed by the state of Illinois to import and distribute beer to licensed retailers. ABDI members directly employ more than 3,300 people across the state. They collect and pay $63 million each year in excise taxes to the state and pay more than $280 million in direct wages and health care benefits.
William D. Olson
Associated Beer Distributors
‘Warrior’ proud of Joliet
A sincere thank you to all those men and women who so proudly serve their country.
As parents of Wounded Warrior, Cpl. Harrison Brooks, USMC, we also want to thank the Joliet community for their heartfelt support at our son’s welcome home party held this year.
It was an inspiring sight to see so many of his friends, family and community wait in line (sometimes over an hour), just to shake his hand and say, “Thanks for your service.”
You make him proud to call Joliet home. God bless America.
Larry and Wendy Brooks
I think Mitt Romney did an excellent job campaigning, but now we have a new president who promises to ...
Oh, wait, that’s the old president, who got us $17 trillion in debt. God bless America.