but goodie is usually a phrase reserved for a classic rock 'n roll song, but it could also apply to a person such as Elsie Thompson. She is a classic and she rocks on -- which is remarkable considering that she is 113 years old. Born on April 5,1899, in Beaver Falls, Mrs. Thompson grew up in East Liberty but married Ronald L. Thompson, a Republican state legislator from Mt. Lebanon. They moved to Clearwater, Fla., in 1971, and although her husband died in 1986, she is still there today -- and is doing well, as the Post-Gazette's Amy McConnell Schaarsmith reported Tuesday. "She's just a joy and a blessing, " said her caregiver, Susie Porter, who is also a Beaver Falls native. Mrs. Thompson has another distinction -- she is now the oldest living American after the death of a South Carolina resident last month. An oldie but goodie, to be sure.
GOV. TOM CORBETT unveiled his budget last week and, while he loosened the purse strings a bit, he still is ideologically squeamish about raising taxes to pay for it. His five-year $5.4 billion plan to raise funds for roads, bridges and public transportation is in large part based on eliminating in three stages a cap on wholesale gasoline taxes, but don't call them that. Mr. Corbett insists that when wholesalers pass on to consumers as much as 28.5 cents a gallon after the caps are fully lifted, the extra money motorists pay will be because of "deregulation." Just in case motorists don't understand this almost theological distinction, Mr. Corbett's budget gives them a 2 cent-per-gallon reduction on the flat tax they pay at the pumps. Mr. Corbett's budget has its strong points, but a little plain speaking would help. In the spirit of calling a spade a spade, call funding the spades wielded in PennDOT construction zones a tax.
HERE'S OUR 2 cents on another subject: If you are stuck in traffic, the money you lose in fuel and time amounts to a tax by any other name. A report released last week by the Texas A&M Transportation Institute put the cost of traffic congestion for the average commuter in 2011 at $818 (the cost in Pittsburgh was slightly higher than the national average, $826 a year). These sobering figures make the argument for funding public transit all the stronger -- more commuters in buses or on rail, fewer drivers on the road. Of course, the traffic never used to be this bad. Ask Elsie Thompson.