Also note that Burton got emotional when he said/implied that his time at UTA may be short after he met with the Governor after the Committee hearing.
I agree with Bishop Burton that Jerry Benson is a great manager. The Board of Trustees are good and decent people but I disagree with their priorities.
The Board is doing what the municipalities are asking them to do, projects.
The Leg. Audit recommended that no new projects be started until full funding is found. It also recommended priority be given to restoring a robust bus service.
The airport TRAX reconfiguration was planned before completion of Airport TRAX but it was expected to only cost $5-10 million. The fancy flying bridge increased the cost to over $65 million. For yeas the SLC Airport has said that Title 72-10-215 prevented them from using airport passenger fees for the project. FAA has, since at least 2009 allowed use for mass transit airport projects except for the rail itself ($5-10 million). FAA has indicated that rails could be allowed with a rule change by the end of the year. Using UTA taxpayer funds for the project takes potential funding from service expansion. The Legislature should change Title 72-10-215 to allow airport passenger fees to be used for transit projects.
UTA has never successfully operated a BRT and the UDOT portions should be used for traffic improvements in Lehi. The Provo BRT does not make sense. The service provided with $190 million can be similarly provided by a $19 million enhanced bus.
TOD system UTA uses gives up to $10 million in lands to a firm in return for a 5% piece of the project. But there is no way to ensure that the private firm uses the value efficiently. There is no guarantee of any profit. Other cities lease their transit properties which encourage developers to build beautiful and successful projects since they have to pay a lease.
I disagree about needing a new bus garage.
UTA debt service interest rate will increase from $11 million a year to $57 million a year in 2021. Another problem is pensions will not be fully funded until 2033.
According to the WFRC Regional Transportation Plan (RTP), UTA will manage 40% of Utah transportation funding. The $11 billion of unfunded projects in the Utah Transportation Plan (from RTP) are mostly UTA questionable projects. Instead of a $190 million BRT, a proof of concept that costs less than $10 million should be considered that provides the same service.
Service reliability is important but UTA has helped provide real time bus and train locations and time to station/stop to app developers and they provide a comfortable semblance of reliabilty.
I recommend the WFRC RTP data which is a testament to Andrew Gruber’s engineers. The data is extensive and even goes into the carbon footprint of modes of travel. I disagree with the WFRC list of transit projects, including the high speed rail station at the airport. I also do not think that UTA should get 40% of Utah transportation funds. UTA should be spending a greater percentage than 6% on new service and a lot less than 40% on projects.