Friday, January 06, 2006

Regional Cooperation Showing Signs of Life

I attended a meeting yesterday sponsored jointly by the Wasatch Front Regional Council and the Mountainlands Association of Governments where several legislators met with local officials to discuss transportation. The legislators presented various plans they have for transportation for the upcoming legislative session.

While there wasn't much new information presented by the legislators, it was good to see what they are specifically proposing, and then for local elected officials to respond back to the legislators. Probably most interesting was the general messge from the local officials that legislators should reconsider making any big tax cuts and instead use the money to fund the backlog of capital needs, particularly transportation improvements. This would not build on-going expenses into the budget for staffing and programs, but would chip away at all those projects that are planned but not funded.

But of greater significance to me was that the meeting showed a greater level of region-wide cooperation among local officials. To have mayors and county commissioners from North Ogden to Payson together in one place, to advocate for a plan they had jointly agreed upon, was something great to see. This is how we will best solve our future urban issues, and we must see more of this.

On the negative side, transit still seems to be kind of an afterthought with legislators. They acknowledge it, but I'm not sure they really see it as part of the solution to transportation problems. In part, that may be due to the structure of the UTA, with it being primarily associated with local government, with funding coming from local-option sales tax. Somehow, we need to give the state a better stake in seeing transit work.

3 Comments:

At 9:18 AM, Blogger google_PEAK_OIL said...

The looming permanent energy crisis that I have been warning of will eventually change the public's focus from road capacity growth to transit capacity growth. Unfortunately it will happen after hundreds of millions have been wasted to overbuild Utah's road capacity, leaving scarce resources to fund soaring transit needs.
I appreciate your foresight in pointing out that the public transit needs of the future will be much greater than the leaders and funders of today imagine they will be.
________________________________
google "Peak Oil" or rent "End of Suburbia" from Netflix

 
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