Well, It's a Start | Hits & Misses | Salt Lake City | Salt Lake City Weekly

Well, It's a Start 

Two new renewable energy initiatives are unveiled. What about those living the Medicaid nightmare in Utah? Plus, what happens when we get more highways for more cars.

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Well, It's a Start
You have to give credit where credit is due—even if it involves I-don't-want-to-be-energy-secretary Rick Perry. We're talking about the Governor's Energy Summit. The very words strike fear in the hearts of climate activists, likely because of the focus on coal, "beautiful, clean coal." We know the appetite for coal is waning, but it's going to take years, and Utah is a problem. "Although coal continues to play a major role, it's popular mostly in states like Utah that have smaller populations," a CNN Business report says. Still, maybe half of the summit attendees were renewable proponents, and Fox News noted that the governor rolled out two new renewable energy initiatives. That's a start, even though it's not enough. Now all we have to do is get both sides talking.

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The Cost of Life
Oh yeah, we are a pro-life state. That is, unless your life costs too much or if you're a kid. The 2019 Utah State of Children's Coverage report shows that 71,000 children are uninsured. You might remember that voters approved a plan to expand Medicaid, only to have it watered down by legislators who firmly believe "these people" are just too lazy to work. Sadly, "these people" are more and more kids—and not white kids. "While the Latino population accounts for only 14% of Utah's population, 43% of uninsured children in the state are of Latino ethnicity," the Deseret News reports. Navigating Medicaid is a nightmare anyway, and legal kids of undocumented parents are living that nightmare. Voices for Utah Children is campaigning to change that, but these days, you're better off to remain a fetus.

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More Lanes, More Traffic
It looks like the brass at the Utah Department of Transportation needs to go to class. It's all about widening the interstates and building more highways, according to buildingsaltlake.com. And, yeah, we do love our highways. Deputy Director Jason Davis is sending up red flags and crying Californication if we don't move now to bring 'em on. Traffic jams, urban gridlock. Oh, horrors! The problem is that more capacity only incentivizes more traffic. It's called "induced demand." Give them more and they'll take it. Instead, Utah has some unique opportunities. Rep. Ben McAdams is lobbying for more federal money for electric buses, and, best yet, the Utah Transit Authority is going to try out a microtransit system where you can opt into shuttles off the fixed-route grid, according to the Deseret News. Yes, we said something positive about UTA. The idea here is to encourage better and easier mass transit, not more drivers in their rolling tin cans.

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About The Author

Katharine Biele

Katharine Biele

Bio:
A City Weekly contributor since 1992, Biele is the informed voice behind our Hits & Misses and Citizen Revolt columns. When not writing, you can catch her working to empower voters and defend democracy alongside the League of Women Voters.

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