To the Editor:

With prom and graduation season around the corner, it’s time to talk with our teenagers about making smart choices, including how to deal with peer pressure to drink underage. We can have a big impact on our children’s decisions about drinking - in fact studies show parents are still the number one influence on their teenagers’ decisions about alcohol. It all starts with conversations and building relationships of trust.

To help start — or continue — these important conversations, Dichello Distributors, Inc. would like to remind parents about the Family Talk About Drinking program, a free parent guide designed to encourage open and honest communication between parents and their children. Programs like this one, paired with education and effective law enforcement, are essential to preventing underage drinking.

Below is a list of the Family Talk About Drinking online resources you can find on your channel of choice:

www.FamilyTalkAboutDrinking.com

https://www.facebook.com/ABFamilyTalk/

https://twitter.com/ABFamilyTalk.

Remember, it’s our collective responsibility to help prevent underage drinking and parents have one of the most important roles of all.

Tony Lota

Alcohol Awareness Coordinator

Dichello Distributors, Inc.

Lawmakers too quick to dismiss vehicle miles tax

To the Editor:

Connecticut is about to run out of money in its Special Transportation Fund which is used for road and bridge repairs. Yet, lawmakers have just killed funding for a study of perhaps the fairest of new funding sources: a vehicle miles tax, or VMT.

CDOT has just withdrawn from a multi-state study of VMT even though it was recommended as a plausible funding alternative by the Governor’s Transportation Finance Panel. The reason? Ignorance, fear and prejudice by state lawmakers. Even before the VMT could be explained, let alone studied, it was called “unproven” by Senate Majority Leader Bob Duff, D-Norwalk. Never mind that it is already being used in Europe, studied in Oregon and endorsed by the GAO in Washington. When the governor’s right-hand man calls an idea “a non-starter,” you know it’s in trouble.

Fellow Sen. Toni Boucher, R-Wilton, called it “nonsense” and an invasion of privacy. There was even a bill introduced this session to prohibit CDOT’s involvement in the VMT study.

Of course a VMT would be unpopular. Nobody wants to pay taxes or tolls to drive. But that doesn’t mean it wouldn’t be evenhanded in asking all motorists to pay a share of the cost of motoring. Even though I support tolls, widely opposed by our timid legislators, a VMT could be even more equitable.

Jim Cameron

Darien

Editor’s note: Darien resident Jim Cameron is a longtime commuter advocate and columnist for Hearst Connecticut Media. His columns appears weekly.