Friday, September 23, 2005

Follow-Up on Legacy

Lots of follow-up stories and editorials on the Legacy Parkway deal reached yesterday -- DesNews opinion piece, Trib news story and Trib editorial, and Standard story.

They all go to show what a cross-section of opinion exists, not so much about going forward with the highway itself, but with the idea of a negotiated deal and what it bodes for the future. Bob Bernick in his piece in the DesNews takes the state to task for charging ahead on the project when there were clear signs that the whole thing would likely wind up in court, but nobody's going to blame those who pushed ahead because of how unpopular the complainers were (and are). Bob has some good points. For me, it was like watching a train wreck in slow motion. I could see where things were going, but was powerless to stop them -- and I just couldn't take my eyes away from watching, either. Did we learn anything? Maybe. But hopefully, the plaintiffs learned something too, about pushing forward with a largely unsupported position that essentially forces the majority into doing something they don't want to do. That's a lesson some writers have warned about from places like Oregon, where Measure 37 seems to be the result of pushing unpopular positions and not listening.

I'm OK with the agreement, in large measure because it really isn't that much different from what we were hoping for in the first place. There sure seems to be a lot being made of the fact that the agreement calls for pushing forward with transit at the same time. The Trib editorial says, "The biggest surprise in the proposed agreement may be the jump start it would give to TRAX in southern Davis County. If the $2.5 million that UDOT would kick in toward environmental studies leads to light rail being constructed, the area would be served not only by a new road but by both commuter rail and light rail or rapid-transit buses."

Surprise for whom? Certainly not for us in Davis County. We've been working on this for several years now -- there is currently a study underway for establishment of a corridor for that very purpose. The agreement may help us to move that program forward a little sooner than we had anticipated, but its no surprise to us.

The Trib story talks about how some legislators are not in favor of the proposed agreement because they feel like it is making a deal with the devil, and there will be "eternal" consequences for future transportation projects. This morning as I was getting ready for work, my wife accidentally turned on a radio station that was what sounded like a conservative local talk show, and the host was talking about the Legacy deal. He used the very words I just wrote above, and urged listeners to call their legislators and demand they vote against the agreement.

You know, as I wrote yesterday, I too have some problem with a process that gives minority opinions such a prominent place at the table to force through their ideas. But that is the system we have (because of how the federal law is written). My feeling is, we can spend our time fighting that battle and lose what we're trying to do, or accept what we can get now, then go to work and try to change the system. I tend toward the practical, and I vote for doing that.

Interesting, when you see things from the inside, and then what the outside world thinks they see.


At 1:20 PM, Blogger Shawn said...

"Minority Opinion" in this case is U.S. Law, NEPA in particular. When Leavitt stood in a West Weber pasture and proclaimed that a grand highway shall be built, it was clear that the conclusion that was supposed to be reserved for the end of the EIS process was already established. Thus, the Legacy EIS began as an exercise in tokenism and rightly recognized as such by the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals.

At 7:10 AM, Blogger google_PEAK_OIL said...

We are hitting the historical limit to our ability to produce energy for powering our vehicles. The combination of all available vehicle powering alternatives will at best slow the inevitable decline of personal vehicle transportation. Yet we are still spending hundreds of millions of dollars to accomodate future traffic that will never materialize.
For me, it is like watching a train wreck in slow motion. I can see where things are going, but I am powerless to stop them -- and I just can't take my eyes away from watching, either.

My username isn't merely a name. It's good advice. I welcome anyone to become knowlegeable about the issue of Peak Oil and come back and explain to me why I am so wrong.

At 7:35 AM, Blogger google_PEAK_OIL said...

The governor of Washington state will give the opening address for the "Global Oil Depletion and Implications for the Pacific Northwest" conference on October 4th. The mayor of Denver will will be a speaker at the November 11 conference of the USA branch of The Association for the Study of Peak Oil. (ASPO-USA). The Oregon Dept. of Transportation (ODOT) submitted a report to the Oregon Legislature that offered suggestions on how to deal with the transportation revenue consequences of Peak Oil.

What all this makes me wonder is, does the leadership of Utah or UDOT know anything about Peak Oil? Has it ever been publicly discussed? Has it ever been a consideration in any of the plans for highway building or economic development? Has it ever been mentioned on the record in relation to the Legacy Highway?


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