support of veterans
To The Editor:
I would like to send a heartfelt “Thank You” to you, your staff and especially to Glenda Caudle for her wonderful article regarding our veterans. The article you printed for us regarding the VFW National Children’s Home and services they offer to veterans and their families was excellently written. We need to do all we can for our veterans and your support is greatly appreciated.
Thank you so much,
National Home Chairman
Ladies Auxiliary to VFW Post 4862
Chairman sets record straight
To The Editor:
I am writing today in response to a letter entitled “Belt Tightening Urged In State” regarding State Representative Judy Barker’s vote to fund ferry services in Tennessee. There continues to be some misconceptions about how Tennessee finances these programs and whether or not these programs are being properly managed.
As chairman of the House Transportation Committee, it is my job to look at all legislation dealing with the Tennessee Department of Transportation and make sure we are utilizing our limited state resources effectively. This includes the two remaining ferry operations in Cumberland City and on the border between Benton and Houston Counties.
I want to give you some facts about our ferry system so you can understand why we believe these programs are fiscally responsible and beneficial to the people of Tennessee.
The most obvious reason for maintaining our ferry system is its cost-benefit. Working Tennesseans need an inexpensive way to cross the river without having to add an extra hour or more to their commute. The ferry system currently provides that opportunity.
To stop funding the program and require citizens to pay directly for their use of the ferry would push the price up from its current 75-cent fee to upwards of $80 a trip. For those crossing five days a week, the cost would be more than $1,600 a month. Clearly that is not fiscally responsible.
Another option would be to replace the ferry with bridges that cross the river. Current estimates put a bridge project over the Tennessee River at over $100 million. That’s 200 years worth of funding at the current cost of $500,000 a year. When compared with the cost of operating our ferry system, building a bridge is clearly not as fiscally responsible.
But a more important reason why we should continue to fund Tennessee’s ferry system is because of the same reason we should fund road projects in Grundy County and bridge projects in Obion County. We are all in this together. The street you live on isn’t paid for by just your hard-earned tax dollars. Every Tennessean owns a piece of your road and your road wouldn’t be possible without all of us coming together. Someone from Nashville may never once take a trip across that ferry, just as someone from Dyersburg may never travel over the Natchez Trace Parkway Bridge, but each has a stake in the other.
Unlike Alaska’s “Bridge to Nowhere,” our ferries have destinations and they shouldn’t be made available only to the rich and they shouldn’t be scrapped just because times are tough.
Finally, let me be clear that this decision to continue to provide ferry services in their current state was not something that Rep. Barker voted for alone. Seven members out of the eight-member subcommittee voted to keep the system the way it is: four republicans and three democrats.
Being fiscally responsible isn’t a partisan issue, it is a philosophy that all legislators should have and on the House Transportation Committee being fiscally responsible is not optional.
Chairman Bill Harmon
Letter writer should
To The Editor:
If the letter writer of “Grocery wines sales worth vote” really took the time to read up on the important issues facing our state, she would know that House Bill 1158, which deals with whether to sell wine in grocery stores, doesn’t even apply to Obion County or other Tennessee counties without package stores. I am glad we have Rep. Judy Barker in Nashville to study the issue a little more closely. I know that Judy’s vote will always be cast in the best interest of northwest Tennesseans. Keep up the good work, Judy!
Published in The Messenger 4.8.09