They Don't Care About Our Transit
Our mass-transit needs for the next 20 years have already been planned.
During the construction of Trax, FrontRunner, the Sugar House Streetcar and other UTA projects, UTA has systematically gutted our bus services throughout the city.
Recently, the Legislature did an audit of UTA, and it was not very kind to UTA. During the Transportation subcommittee's open meeting this past fall, UTA officials admitted they "do not have funding for improving current bus services or funding for any new bus services."
The Wasatch Front Regional Council has completed work on a Regional Transit Plan. The council is made up of elected officials from Weber, Morgan, Davis, Salt Lake and Utah counties, plus top officials from UTA and UDOT.
Their plan is a nice piece of work, well-conceived and thought out. The council considered population growth, economic development, travel patterns and a host of other variables and conditions to develop the plan, and it addresses our future mass-transit needs and desires. It will cost us hundreds of millions if not billions of dollars to complete the plan.
Currently, neither UTA nor the Regional Transit Plan addresses Salt Lake City citizens' needs or desires. Residents of Salt Lake City have made it very clear that we need and want more and better bus services now. We need to address and solve our current transit needs and not have UTA or WFRC's RTP kick them down the road another 25 years.
It is a popular opinion that UTA and the Wasatch Front Regional Council do not care about the current needs of residents along the Wasatch Front, Salt Lake Valley or Salt Lake City. If they really cared, the general public would have been more fully involved in the development of the Regional Transit Plan. Case in point, WFRC's Public Involvement Policy states:
"Efforts will be made to invite, by letter or e-mail, diverse groups and persons. Provision will be made for both oral and written comments at the meeting. The meetings will be advertised in area general-circulation newspapers as display advertisements or press releases, e-mail and through the regular mail. The meeting dates and locations will also be posted on the WFRC Internet home page and social media."
This is what UTA and the WFRC consider "public involvement." It's no wonder residents feel that they do not have a voice in their transportation or transit needs and desires.
Chairman, SLC Citizen Transit Task Force
Vice-Chair, Capitol Hill Community Council