It seems Steve Neeleman had his time line backward when he termed those in favor of light rail as visionaries and those who favor something else as Neanderthals (Readers' Forum, Feb. 26).

The beginning (the Neanderthal age) of public transportation began in Salt Lake City in 1872 when mule-drawn trolleys on rails provided rides for passengers who were not in a hurry (pedestrians could walk much faster).Electric trolleys began service in 1889, and in the 1920s the Utah Light and Traction Co. pioneered rubber-tired, electric buses. Gasoline-powered buses were introduced in the 1930s. As the newer transportation systems were developed, they slowly replaced the electric street cars. In 1945 the electric trolleys made their last runs in Salt Lake City.

The city was heartened to see the removal of unsightly overhead wires and the tracks that were built-in ruts and caused accidents.

Most of the replacement buses were about half the size of those in use today. They were relatively fast and highly maneuverable. It was much safer picking up passengers at the curb.

We are told by the UTA that a referendum several years ago opposing light rail was a vote against a tax to finance it. But many citizens maintain the vote was in opposition to the type of system. So why in the name of common sense hasn't this been settled with a specific referendum?

Recurring allegations of mismanagement or misfeasance in UTA operations have not eased concerns that figuratively and literally we are being railroaded into a system that will cause increased congestion, additional pollution and the waste of countless thousands of person hours in the main already overcrowded, north-south transportation corridor of our valley.

Blaine Hebdon

Salt Lake City