Other opinions: State should pass transportation bill

Published 4:35 pm Wednesday, May 2, 2007

By Staff
Last week, the Alabama House passed a bill that could have long-range, positive effects on the transportation system in Alabama if approved by the Senate.
The bill would establish a five-member commission that would oversee the Alabama Department of Transportation and appoint the agency's director. Bill sponsor Rep. Cam Ward, R-Alabaster, said the commissioners would be appointed by the governor, but would serve staggered six-year terms so that all members would most likely not be appointed by the same governor.
In addition to appointing the DOT director, the commission would oversee the department's long range planning of when and where highways will be built or repaired. Ward said this would help remove politics from the agency's decision-making process.
Our state's transportation priorities don't change every four years, yet there has long been the possibility that the priorities and plans would change each time a new governor appointed a new transportation director.
This bill appears to be good for the long-term progress of our state. The Senate should quickly bless it and sent to to Gov. Riley for his signature.
The Andalusia Star-News
Reform will require both compromise and compassion
Immigration reform is a complex, emotionally charged issue that has all sides demanding change but seemingly unwilling to sit down and discuss rationally the finer points of the numerous arguments.
Today, protesters in major cities across the United States will take to the streets seeking reform. Most of these protesters are immigrants who are seeking a stop to the deportation of immigrants who are here illegally but who have U.S.-born children. In many of these cases, the children are left in the country - sometimes becoming wards of the state - while the parents are deported. This is because anyone born on U.S. soil has the right to U.S. citizenship.
This facet of the immigration debate shows one of the most troubling aspects of our current immigration policy: the government tearing apart families and placing children in foster care.
On one hand, opponents of this policy say that families are unfairly being separated and children being placed into circumstances that are worse than from where their parents came. On the other hand, proponents say that immigrants who come to the U.S. illegally often use their children as shields from deportation.
Both sides are correct, which means the only solution is a compromise. It is only one example of how complex the issue of immigration is.
What we know is that illegal immigrants often take jobs that American workers desperately need. But we also know that corporate America has facilitated illegal immigration - at times to the point of providing transportation from border entry points to job sites. Furthermore, we also know that some jobs given to immigrants are in substandard conditions where employers struggle to find workers here who will take them.
Immigration policy should not be an all-or-nothing approach. It needs reason and compassion. President Bush has tried unsuccessfully to bring about common sense reform. His failure to produce such legislation is not of his shortcomings but the shortcomings of Congress - both Republicans and Democrats who fear the issue during elections.
We hope that President Bush will use his remaining time in office to focus on this issue. As the former governor of a border state and an ally to corporate America, he understands well the intricacies of this debate. And in this situation, being a lame-duck president with nothing to lose will serve him well.
We also hope that others - elected officials and civic and business leaders - will come together over common ground and accept compromise as the first steps toward a growing problem.
In the end, we must remember that we are talking about human lives - men, women and children who want nothing more than what we as a country advertise every day: the American dream.
It is our duty to protect that dream while at the same time remaining conscious of the fact that the decisions made on this issue - more so than probably any other domestic policy issue - will impact lives in ways we cannot fully understand.
The Demopolis Times

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