October 1, 2013

Letters to the editor: Mortgage interest a flawed deduction

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Some of these oil trains have operated on Pan Am rails through New England. But because of the recent fatal train derailment in Lac-Megantic, Quebec, all of the people who live there don’t ever want to see freight trains passing through their town again. I don’t blame them. The MM&A Railway line passes through mountainous terrain, so the numerous inclines and sharp curves can cause future runaway train wrecks.

If Rail World, which is affiliated with MM&A, does go bankrupt and out of business, why doesn’t Pan Am Railways purchase the former Bangor and Aroostook (Searsport to Millinocket) Railroad and abandon the former Canadian Atlantic (Sherbrooke, Quebec, to Brownville, Maine) line?

That route is simply not profitable, and with the loss of the oil train business, the remaining “bridge traffic” between Saint John and the rest of the United States could be rerouted on Pan Am rails. Any freight traffic that goes to (and from) Montreal could be interchanged at Danville Junction in Auburn, to the St. Lawrence and Atlantic Railroad line.

By consolidating the former Maine Central Railroad lines with the Bangor and Aroostook route, Pan Am could resurrect the “old Maine Central Railroad” again. Pan Am might have to re-open the old Maine Central route that goes between Waterville and Brunswick (via Augusta) to handle the increased train traffic.

Augusta is one of the few state capitals in the U.S. that doesn’t have decent railroad service. But in the long run, changing that state’s railroad map would make more economic sense.

Michael Ballard

Auburn

Obama shouldn’t negotiate with budget ‘terrorists’

It must be fall, because once again the extremist wing of the Republican Party is trying to hold the government budget hostage to its political end.

While this year it’s Obamacare, next year, the objective could be to repeal Social Security, and the year after that Medicare, and on and on. It’s the process that’s important, and this new process of hostage taking every year at budget time is the problem.

There are many definitions of the word “terrorist,” including “an individual who uses violence, terror and intimidation to achieve a result.” Any of the tea party Republicans can be said to fit this definition.

I would encourage President Obama not to try to negotiate over the budget and Obamacare. It sets a bad precedent for the future, and it has always been the policy of this country not to negotiate with terrorists.

Donna Brown

Pownal

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