A Streetcar Lacking Desire
Hold on. There's more news coming about the Sugar House Ghost Train, also known as the streetcar to nowhere. The Salt Lake City Council has unenthusiastically (4-3) voted to match $3.1 million in federal funds to extend the line. No, the Utah Transit Authority won't throw in a dime, and who knows how long this will take to build, anyway? The Salt Lake Tribune even editorialized that the city would be better off operating a small, intra-city bus system. You know, one that actually gets people where they need to go. But the real issue here is a lack of planning, which Councilman Charlie Luke hollered about. He bemoaned the lack of a comprehensive mass-transit plan. Planning should be first on any city agenda. Issues like the golf-course debacle might be helped if there were more planning and a vision for the future.
Code for Cleaner Air
While going through the process to create local historic districts, the Salt Lake City planning commission heard from a couple of men who advocated tearing down all the old homes in the Yalecrest area. They would be rebuilt not only much more earthquake-proof, but much more energy efficient. Meanwhile, the governor's Clean Air Action Team has endorsed new energy codes for builders. "According to the Utah Division of Air Quality, homes and buildings now contribute nearly 40 percent of the emissions that cause Utah's unhealthy air—and this percentage is expected to grow," a recent Deseret News op-ed noted. But during the last legislative session, an attempt to change the building code adoption cycle from three years to six years luckily failed. If it passed, it would mean that new homes could be built using outdated standards. The next Legislature needs to heed the team's recommendation.
Cool to Skip School
Mia Love wants colleges and universities to spend lots of money telling students why they shouldn't go to college. In her first big jump into legislation, the congresswoman introduced the "Student Right to Know Before You Go Act," apparently aimed at telling kids what the return on their educational investment will be. This is based on a Salt Lake City woman whose son graduated with $80,000 of student-loan debt and no job prospects. Wouldn't it be great if colleges could guarantee jobs for their graduates? Or if, as President Obama proposes, the first two years of college were free? Love's act sounds like a way to talk students out of higher education. Maybe she should propose a law called a "Couples Right to Know Before You Impregnate Act."