Straightening I-680 would do more for area than building new bridge
On Jan. 27, ODOT announced that the Madison Avenue Expressway's "Blue Bridge" is structurally deficient and plans are under way to replace it. I was surprised to hear this. I remember back in 1966, ODOT praised the new bridge as an engineering marvel that would last 100 years. So why after 35 years do we have to replace this bridge? Because it requires an expensive paint job, and we can't paint the YSU insignia on the bridge? ODOT should spend the $13 million to rehabilitate the old bridge.
ODOT needs to focus on the replacement of the I-680 freeway between South Avenue and Edward Street. This crumbling narrow winding stretch of I-680 has been a death trap for many motorists including one city police officer who was struck and killed while at the scene of another traffic accident near the curve at the Pyatt Street overpass.
Much of the land along this stretch has now become vacant with many boarded up eyesores. ODOT can use this vacant land to construct a straight and wider I-680 with new interchanges at Market Street and Himrod Avenue Expressway. Market Street will be a major corridor to the downtown and its new civic center. This may help start new development downtown.
Several years ago ODOT replaced a longer more expensive stretch of I-76 in Akron. If our local officials worked with ODOT, the replacement of I-680 can happen here.
Just remember 30 years ago, the Youngstown Municipal Airport needed the King Graves Road interchange and the 711 connector for a direct route to the city. After many foolish delays, the projects are now underway. But, it's too late to help the airport. Downtown Youngstown is running out of time. We have to stop fooling around before it's too late again.
MARIO J. POLUSE
All-volunteer army has yet to be tested
Debaters are raging pro and con about the need for a draft for the military. The Jan. 13 Vindicator had articles by Congressman Charles Rangel, Democrat, who favors instituting the draft and on the same page, Congressman Vito Fossella gives his reasons for opposing conscription.
Fossella alleges for last 25 years, "The All-Volunteer Force is serving the country's needs." The Republican states that from Granada to the Gulf War and to the victory over the Taliban the military has met every challenge. He fails to note that in every one of these undeclared mini-wars, the enemy was an undisciplined less than an impressive force. How about the loss of American lives in Lebanon, Africa, Saudi Arabia, etc.?
We should emphasize that military force was augmented and reinforced by the civilian soldiers of the National Guard and the Reserves. As a result, these civilians are being demoralized by the constant call-up. This is not the mission of the Reserves and/or the National Guard.
If the present military force needs additional support, let it be through the draft which should include women. The Republicans believe that the draftees could not handle the complicated military equipment of the present military. This is far from true and is an insult to the youth of America. Is it possible that Bush intends to augment the military with illegal call up of the Reserves and National Guard? Is this government by executive order without the approval of Congress?
Conscription would also alleviate the unemployment problem.
MELVIN S. FRANK