Traverse City Record-Eagle

Opinion

May 4, 2014

Letters to the Editor: 05/04/2014

Upgrade the dams

I’ve been watching the disputes over dam removal and don’t understand why upgrading the dam power production has never been mentioned. Water has powered the grid for many years using an old-fashioned generator and has kind of lost to petrol and gas for more power for today’s use.

During the 1960s the automotive industry changed from generator to alternators to power the newer electrical demands caused by double headlights, etc. To my knowledge the dams power generators never have been upgraded to alternators. Why not?

The nearly free power from the dams, as well as flood control, would easily pay for the upgrades and as the grid still is quite near the existing dams, the connection should be quite easy to revive.

I suggest that, since the Brown Bridge dam is gone, it would be a perfect place to build a new efficient flood control and power plant, of course using the technology more advanced than the old plants are using.

I have to mention to the fishermen who want this stream to be like a wild trout stream, the dam is good for controlling invasive species, keeping water levels more or less constant, making spawning beds more stable.

Hank Visser

Lake Ann

 

Roads below average

Why are our roads so bad when our gasoline taxes are so high?

I’m sure everybody would agree that this past winter was tough on Michigan’s roads, but why did we begin the season with the roads in such bad shape when the state has the fifth-highest gasoline tax in the nation? Michigan’s gasoline tax is $0.579 per gallon, which includes the $0.184 per gallon federal tax. Only four states, California, Hawaii, New York and Connecticut, have higher gasoline taxes than Michigan.

The federal gasoline tax has not risen since 1993 and President Obama’s tax-and-spend administration has been making noises about raising the federal rate on gasoline, which they will, no doubt, justify to fight global warming.

The average gasoline tax in the United States is $0.495 (including the federal tax). Why do we have to drive on such below-average roads when our gasoline tax is above the national average?

Roger Buller

Traverse City

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