This is a puff piece. Lee you are a better reporter than this piece
indicates. The new RTP only increases service 30% (which is what UTA
is talking about). Note that we decreased service 30% since 2007 so we
won’t return to the bus service that we had in 2007.
But the important missing point of the article is that most of the tax
money (now and in the future, if the tax increase is passed) will go
to Ralph Becker’s 3 new rail projects downtown, a $55 million bus
garage, a $55 million airport TRAX station redo, a high speed rail
station at the airport, UTA apartments next to central station,
sending the Sugar House TRAX train up 1100 East, taking up lanes of
traffic on Foothill for a BRT, etc. The RTP list had span of service
increases at the end and the new rails at the top of the list. This is
UTA’s way of pulling the wool over everyone’s eyes. Lee Davidson – do
a story on the other side of the subject and don’t print just what UTA
tells you to print.
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Makid George Chapman
Close, yet so far away.
Bus service wasn’t cut 30%. Routes weren’t cut 30%. Bus service was
cut back approximately 20% from 2008 when the Green and Red Trax lines
came online. Routes were only cut 10% and that was to align with the
new Trax lines or they were under performing. A bus that is empty 90%
of the time is not a valid route.
Since 2013, bus service has slowly been increasing. In August, bus
service will be increasing 7% alone. That is minimal new routes but
increased frequency along high ridership routes. This is how bus
service should be increased.
You don’t just add new routes to far flung places and hope for
ridership. You add some lines further out while also back filling and
improving service for those along popular routes.
Your second point is way off. UTA isn’t going to spend any money for
the Airport trax line, Sugarhouse Streetcar nor BRT on Foothill. 1st,
the Airport and SLC are paying to move the Airport Trax station. 2nd,
SLC and possibly a Federal Grant will be paying to double track and
extend the S-Line to 2100 S and 1100 E. If it heads further north
along 1100 E, it will be paid for completely by SLC.
3rd, Foothill BRT is a possible dream and will depend on the Mountain
Accord. Even then UTA will only be paying for the minimums
(Buses/trains) depending on the service that is decided upon in the
Environmental Assessment. SLC and the cities along Foothill will be
paying for the rest.
This is due to the City’s receiving 40% of the tax increase for local
projects. SLC is projected to receive between $4 Million and $5
Million a year from the increase alone themselves while UTA is only
looking at $18 Million to $20 Million in SL County. 25% of UTA tax
revenue in SL County comes from SLC. So, SLC will see more service
Lastly, the bus garage is already in progress and has dedicated funds.
So no funds will be used from any tax increase to pay for it.
The tax increase would bring approximately 35 increase to bus service
(frequency and new routes), BRT along 5600 West which is required to
complete the MVC (and already budgeted to start construction this
year), the Black line (Trax) which would run from the Airport to the
University of Utah, and spending about $40 Million double tracking
Frontrunner in selective places to allow a 15 minute frequency at peak
times and 30 minute off peak.
No bonding will occur, meaning no extensive BRT construction, until
2021-2022 at the earliest. The Legislatures dream of Trax to Utah
County (Blue Line extension) won’t even happen until after 2030.
UTA is focused on bus service. If Cities want to use their share to
add rail, that is up to them but UTA would only operate it, the City
will need to fund it (i.e. SLC Streetcar, 4th South Trax extension,
Ogden Streetcar, etc.).
All of this information can be found in meeting minutes from various
cities, UTA and the WFRC. So nothing is hidden