Sale Tax Increase will be Used on more Projects, The Corruption Continues

Despite protests that the proposed transportation tax increase on the
ballot is for service only, I can make a good argument that shows just
the opposite.I have spent a lot of time at the WFRC meetings and I believe that
their documents show that the tax increase will be mainly for
projects.  The summary that I got from the WFRC counter, said that in
the next 25 years, 6% of the budget would be for new service/span of
service increases and 32% would be for new projects. That is why I
will vigorously fight the tax increase.In addition, the Regional Transportation Plan has many projects that I
believe do not have a valid cost benefit analysis.  For instance, the
attempt to put a BRT on 5600 W. which is already clogged with traffic
and only runs a bus every half hour doesn’t make sense.  The idea that
people will walk 4 blocks between stations in return for faster
transit times has not been proven.  The 3500 South BRT only has 3200
passengers a day and the vast majority of citizens would rather have
the two lanes that the BRT uses at certain places.  The first RTP
actually had the Enhanced Bus which has a bus lane at the light and
green light priority which speeds the route and is less than 1/10 of
the cost.  If the Enhanced Bus was the preferred system in the RTP, I
wouldn’t be as concerned.

In order to have a decent chance of passing, I believe that the
Executive Board has to make a written commitment/agreement/contract
that obligates UTA to not build projects like TODs/apartments (no
matter how justified), stop all projects for at least 3 years (the
longer the commitment, the greater the chance of approval.

I also should add that the Mt. Accord tunnel system (to Summit
County!), the high speed rail system and TRAX reconfiguration at the
airport, the streetcar extension and the three rail lines downtwown
will also ensure defeat of the tax.  Those projects can’t be
justified.  I know that the argument will be that airport passenger
fees are used for airport projects but…. I can counter with Title
72-10-215 that does not allow passenger fees to be used for fixed
guideway systems.

I would love to see service increases be more specific as in the
presentation that Christopher Chesnut did about 7 months ago.  In
addition, throwing in summer bus service up the canyons would also
help.  Other helps would be SLC’s Mayor publicly coming out against
anymore rail and BRT projects.  That would help but it is unlikely.

Again, I believe that the UTA Board needs to disavow the RTP.

One final note, I have been on the Sugar House TRAX/Streetcar when
drivers ignored the stop signs along the route (in SLC and SSLC).  The
only solution is a new system that detects vehicles and starts
flashing a red light as the vehicle comes up to the stop.  But if
people are not paying attention (who can miss a big TRAX train?),
there is nothing that you can do about that.

George Chapman

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