To the editor:

Locally, state Rep. Jim Hawkins has found the voice and led the growing excitement to have 15-minute electric train service to Boston through Attleboro. The Sun Chronicle editorial on Jan. 11 supports and fleshes-out the benefits locally. Both view the finding of funds to be complicated and daunting.

It’s time for the local state and federal officials to step up to this challenge, or be replaced. The major burden should be borne by the federal government, say 80%, and the remainder by the state by wealth and gas taxing, increased fares and tolls.

I believe the financial challenge can be met:

On the cost side: Costs are estimated at $700 million capital for trains and upgrades plus $600 million/year operations, or a total of $3.7 trillion over five years, for an Electrified Attleboro-Stoughton Line.

On the revenues side: We start by remembering the 50,000 lives damaged and the $1.1 trillion wasted by our federal government on just the Iraq War, not to mention what was spent on Afghanistan and ... and ...

The $718 billion per year military budget could be cut in half by withdrawing the 40,000 troops engaged in unnecessary nation-building in the Middle East, thus, the feds should be able to come up with the order of $1.8 trillion over five years by managing our military-industrial complex wisely.

Add to that, the tax plan proposed by Bernie Sanders, which is estimated by the Tax Policy Center and the Tax Foundation to generate about $5 trillion over five years.

Add to that the Massachusetts contribution of say $0.5 trillion over five years.

Thus, that’s a total of $7.3 trillion of revenue over five years to pay for the $3.7 trillion electrified line, serving the “most congested urban area in the United States.”

So, it can and should be done!

I hope academics will jump in to refine the numbers and to estimate what I believe, additionally, to be a humongous economic and social benefit to our area of the country.

Which current officials will step up? None of the present ones, I say, save for Jim Hawkins; So replace them!

Tom Richards

North Attleboro

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