Compressed natural gas a cheaper and cleaner fuel for cars
Save a dollar per gallon on all vehicle fuel? It can be done with CNG (compressed natural gas), more efficient and better for the environment than gasoline or diesel. The technology is here now.
United Parcel and Waste Management have over 1,000 CNG-powered vehicles on the road, and more on order. The public doesn’t have this wonderful savings because there are only about 300 CNG stations in the United States. This problem could easily be solved by New York state.
The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) currently has no programs to promote the use of CNG, despite the huge potential savings. NYSERDA could create this expensive infrastructure in the private sector with just two mandates and little expense to the state.
1) There would be a special tax — say 25 cents — on all CNG sold, to pay for bonds backed by the state to set up CNG pumps at existing gas stations. This program should be limited to assure reasonable geographic distribution of supply and have a termination plan as private enterprise takes over.
2) A mandate would be needed for all public vehicles, intrastate trucks, taxis, everything except private cars, to be replaced with CNG engines. Of course, this transition would be phased in, considering normal replacement vehicle schedules, local CNG supply and many other factors determined by experts.
The above concepts are an outline developed by an unprofessional private individual. At the very least, NYSERDA should have a plan. Cheaper vehicle fuel is vital to the prosperity of our state and the United States.
Carl F. Liss
Nisky school officials still have cutting to do
The Niskayuna school board still doesn’t get it. Again this year, district taxpayers and school personnel are suffering through the perennial throes of dealing with the school budget.
Driven by continued (and very predictable) reductions in state aid and rising operational costs, the projected deficit has doubled in one year and will continue to rise.
The board is still in denial and continues to put off making the tough decisions to rein in spending — maintaining a spend-and-tax culture. Continued short-term Band-Aids aren’t solutions. Long-term strategies for major restructuring and base cost reductions are needed to deal with these “new normals.”
Facilities (schools) need to be consolidated or closed. The multitude of high-cost positions, such as assistant principals and assistant superintendents, administrators and directors, etc. are simply no longer affordable. Niskayuna enjoys the highest spending-per-pupil ratios in the region. The so-called property tax cap is still twice the rate of inflation — providing allowance for a 4 percent increase in spending.
Asking taxpayers to pay even more reinforces the wrong behavior, is a cop-out, and is unfair. Other districts have stepped up without further hardship on the taxpayer. The state Comptroller’s Office has it right.
The district’s past financial decisions have been risky, if not deceptive. Difficult situations require hard decisions — let’s hope our leaders can respond.
Too many ads may ruin new Fox sports network
I have to agree with sportswriter Ken Schott [March 9 Gazette] that ESPN “talking heads” are following the same patter as Fox political commentators when they talk over each other and, in the end, never offer an original opinion but look to self-promotion instead.
Stephen A. Smith and his opponent seem to relish this format while the master of the desk sits silent. I will wait to see if their “Sports 1” cable channel can stay on point and give sports fans better information without getting into gossip.
As a motor head, I enjoy all forms of auto racing and information/reality programs. Fox Sports is doing a terrible job broadcasting NASCAR races by interrupting the action with a “side-by-side” format that pounds advertising into our heads as important events continue on the track.
Indy Racing League (IRL) broadcasts have been using a “side-by-side” format that is really a split screen, so you view most of the race (with no sound) while the ads are on the other half. Fox Sports’ “side-by-side” is a joke because all you get is a postage stamp-sized picture in the upper right corner (12 percent of the screen) showing the race.
Thank God the Motor Racing Network is still broadcasting (on radio), so you can have its excellent commentary and mute whatever is coming from Fox Sports.
Ken says he can’t wait for the Fox Sports 1, but I wonder if he enjoys what they are doing with the racing broadcasts. I’m waiting for them to catch on and give some racing with the ads.
What else is new? It snows upstate in March!
It is a cold March day, March 19 to be exact. As I watch the snow fall, I wonder if I am the only person who feels as if the “media” needs to come to terms with upstate New York weather.
If you are a native, you know that it snows here — sometimes from October to April. Creating hysteria over a winter snowstorm, to me, seems a little ridiculous.
An ice storm, yes, but we are going to have snow and slippery roads, and the smart drivers out there are wary. So be prepared and don’t put those shovels away yet!
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