Is this news or opinion? I'm having an increasingly difficult time figuring
this out at the DesNews,
Dear Orem Parent 2:34amI would think your ire be equally directed at the
lobbyists who have happily enriched themselves.....
Research has suggested that the typical return on lobby dollars is 25 to 1 so
the UTA return even if inflated in spectacular- the real issue though is what
other thing do you know where you can get returns like that- generally those are
illegal at best but all of this is legal and we wonder why Washington and State
Houses are broken and people have no trust in the system- I will happily take a
10 to 1 return on my retirement funds- perhaps I need to hire a better lobbyist
At least they could use the money to buy more attractive train cars...these are
hideous and look like something from the 70's.
Shut it down!
I still miss the public transportation that was available in Germany in 1970.
It is sad, but true, that Utah has a very long way to go before it could even
come close to a transit plan similar to what I experienced there so many years
ago. It is clear to me, though, that we cannot keep relying on our own
In case many people have noticed, the Wasatch front has become a scenario of
high density living. When I was a small boy, a drive from Provo to Ogden meant
passing through a lot of farmland on the way. That's gone forever.I suspect that today, or tomorrow, TRAX might seem like an expensive
ordeal, but I would be willing to bet that by the end of the decade more and
more people will be glad it's there.where I live currently,
such a thing would be impractical, I live in a very rural area and I don't
need a bus or a train, I need a pickup truck to haul hay for my livestock. In
my opinion, the Wasatch front, and a few other key area in the country are best
suited for public transportation - like the high density areas. In such areas,
cars are going to seem more and more troublesome and when that day comes, then
it is too late to ask for a sleek running public transportation system that has
worked out the bugs already.
This is the same sorry discussion that happens everywhere they have "mass
transit". Who came up with that term "mass" transit because in
reality there is no transit of "mass" amounts of people. I digress.Republicans ought to be embarrassed they were conned into this system
that will forever be a black hole.You can read it in the comments
here though. There are plenty of people that simply don't care what a
failure it is for most everyone or the exorbitant expense or the fact it will
steal money need for higher priorities.The reality is there is not a
more expensive way to transport people based on the statistical usage
patterns.Government=waste and this will be just another example.
Mass transit, car pool lanes etc. Scams to use govt money that NEVER achieve
all the promises that Liberals make BEFORE they are implemented.They
will say anything to get what they want and then we are stuck financing their
agenda. Just the way they wan it/ Literally, agenda at any cost. Go talk to Greece about how that is working out for them.
I knew there was a reason I disliked those trains...
Add the cost of construction, the cost of lobbying, and the cost of day-to-day
maintenance, operation and replacement/expansion. Amortize that over the
expected life of the investment to determine the annual cost of UTA. Then
subtract the average yearly revenue from passenger fares. Then, ask yourself,
was this really a good use of taxpayer dollars?We desperately need
As capitalism decays, the road network and all that goes with it will become
unaffordable to average people. Ten years from now, if not sooner, we are going
to be grateful for this rail network.
Thank you JDL you are on the money. All those who think UTA in any form is
going to be profitable stand and raise your hand! It is another whack at the
poor taxpayer. My neighbor works for UTA and says the bus rider pays 15 cents
on the dollar for his or her ride. We never seem able to have our legislators
tell the truth on this.
We need UTA as functional and as cheap-per-ride as possible. It benefits both
riders and non-riders because auto traffic causes close to half the air
pollution. We subsidize highway building, which only increases air pollution.
I suggest a (bigger) dedicated sales tax, which will provide a reasonably
predictable revenue stream, because almost everyone out buying "stuff"
has driven and created air pollution or has used UTA. I hate the idea of no
downtown parking for free, but that will help make UTA successful; the less
parking, the more riders. A well funded UTA providing excellent service is an
absolute necessity for anyone who wants to live here and breathe.
Re: RanchHand Huntsville, UT"Conservative Utahn's really
don't mind government spending, as long as the money's spent on
conservative Utahn's pet projects"Probably explains we
question the wisdom of the GSA's $820,000 lavish party in Las Vegas.
My concern continues to be bonus money that has been and most likely will be
paid to upper management. Shouldn't happen. If they can't work for
the excellent salary they receive then find someone else. The bonus money
should be put into maintenance or turned back to the city/county/state where the
tax money came from.
"...consider one round trip between Ogden and SLC, 36 miles each way. At 30
cents per mile, the cost would be $21.60 to go to work and back one time,
assuming you don't have to pay for parking. You can ride FrontRunner for
$10.20 round trip, if you don't have a pass."If you also
consider buying a $189.00 per month monthly pass just so you won't have to
buy a separate ticket each time you commute by FrontRunner, and you commute five
days per week, four weeks per month, taking no vacation and only one holiday and
one "sick" day per month, you might come close to breaking even on the
cost of buying the tickets each day. What I would like to see, is
for UTA to give a better incentive for buying monthly passes. Let them allow
for days when someone needs to use an alternate source of transportation or is
gone on vacation. Does it really cost that much to run a full train? Or, does
the cost reflect the lost revenue by not utilizing the empty seats?
"I don't like the idea of people who don't use the system having
to subsidize it."Oh dear. Senator Madsen's quote rather
blows me away, because it comes off as rather uneducated and woefully
misinformed. For a couple of reasons. One, public transportation is by its
nature subsidized. It's subsidized in every city in the nation. It's
not meant to be run like a business. Two, we all pay for infrastructure that we
do not use! We all pay for roads that we do not use, but we are okay with it. We
all pay for sewers, schools, garbage disposal that we do not use. We are okay
with it. Why? Because we recognize that it is vital for our city and state. Hmm.
Well, I bet the average misinformed voter will eat up Madsen's rhetoric and
vote for him because of it.Folks, we are becoming a world-class
city. Commuter rail will extend across the Wasatch Front. Light rail reaches all
corners of the Salt Lake Valley. Do I use all of that? Of course not. But I
recognize the innumerable value that this has for the well-being of our city.
Pretty ironic that the state that howls the loudest about less government and
"we hate the feds' are top of the list for spending other peoples'
money, from the same feds they despise. It's time to grow up and
acknowledge that you are part of the U.S. and you will always have to play by
the rules. Actually it looks like you know how to play the rules pretty
well.Secondly, mass transit isn't about saving your personal
gas money. It's about reducing fuel use overall, cutting pollution along
the Wasatch Front, and reducing congestion on the highways. Utah should be
called the "It's all about me" State.
All that is needed is for people to read the UN's Agenda 21 documents. The
Idea is to force people into the European system of High Density living and
dependence on Government. Transit Oriented Developments is a case in point.
Governor Huntsman and Envision Utah were/are a miniature Agenda 21 package. UTA has prostituted themselves to the Redistribution Money Masters and
have unapologetically created indentured servants of the people to uphold and
maintain their Priestcraft.This train system is also one of the most
dangerous and deadly transportation nightmares.
Its unfortunate that the UTA board of directors don't take their job
seriously. Really, all they are is a rubber stamp for anything UTA mgmt. wants,
(including increasing their salaries).We NEED mass public transit,
but sadly, SOME involved with issues of public trust have just used their
positions to ENRICH themselves.Recently I think the Guv. appointed
the outgoing LDS presiding bishop David Burton to the UTA board. MAYBE he can
bring some credibility and reforms to the organization, but I'm not holding
my breath.UTA is institutionally flawed from the top down.
Unless/until the "board" switches out upper mgmt. things are gonna be
the same.Maybe we should privatize it or put it under UDOT, which is
a natural fit.I have written to my state representative (Janice
Fisher D- West Valley), and she has tried to make some effect at the state level
but many in the legislature don't give the issue much attention.Don't just complain here. Let your state legislator know your feelings.
UTA certainly aren't going to "change their stripes" until they are
forced to by higher powers at the legislature.
People complain on here all the time, especially our locally and nationally
elected politicians about the size of out national debt. Where is their outrage
about accepting federal dollars for TRAX when we really don't need it? Mind
you I love riding TRAX. But we seem to have a disconnect with the posturing of
our politicians about the big bad federal government and it's intrusiveness
while at the same time having our hands out saying "Gimme me more".
Hypocrisy at its worst.
Lest we forget, for every dollar spent by UTA for lobbyist, there are many
dollars spent by the oil and automotive industries to prevent public
This article is a little skewed as Primary Elections are coming up and this will
drive some people to vote, maybe. However, lobbyists, like any group involved
in the public and private sector can be good and bad. Senators and Legislators,
bureaucrats and elected officials are not all knowledgeable or have the ability
to gain all the information they need to make decisions. These same people,
government and lobbyists, can have some devious ways or the best of intentions,
one or both parts. However, citizens can vote out the politicians or the
government can work on bureaucrats through their fraud, waste and abuse programs
but that takes a system that works in Utah, even though it may take some time.
The Department of Alcohol, etc is one of those examples, whether individually or
as the whole department, etc. Lobbyists register through the Lt.
Governor's office and have some rules but there are always ways for them to
find holes and beat the system, for awhile. The UTA does require some lobbyists
to help through the muddled process in DC to extract what they can to help our
people and businesses have a good system. Thanks to very GOOD people.
The real problem with our governments both local and national is the spending of
money to make some businessmen rich instead of providing for the welfare of
America. The return of $500 for every $1 spent is great. For those
businessmen who got it. Not so great for the people who paid that outrageous
rip off of the taxpayer. It wouldn’t be so bad if the public
could benefit from the investment but after it is built, it’s use is left
up to those who want to pay outrageous costs for it’s use. Plus the
managers often will discourage it’s use to further their profits. The profit for business is in the building of public services not in
their use. Thus the business lobby is working against to the citizens.To have better and smaller government, we need to get business out of
government. Smaller government without reform will just make it easier for
unscrupulous businessmen to rob the taxpayer.
"UTA built trains on the backs of big-money lobbyists..." No the
big-money lobbyists have made out handsomely while our kids and grandkids are
going to be stuck with the costs of this never-ending boondoggle!It's past time for citizens to realize that there is no free lunch, or
big-money lobbyists, or anybody else paying your bills. It's you and me
and our posterity. Talk about flat-earth thinking. Big city
transit systems are all heavily subsidized because they are not cost effective.
toshi1066 wrote,"My problem with Frontrunner, other than it takes
forever to go any distance, is that the cost of going to SLC from Ogden is
roughly the same as in my own vehicle and I can drive directly to the place I
want."For a long time I made the mistake of estimating the cost
of driving somewhere based on the cost of fuel. I now realize that the total
costs are much higher! The cost per mile depends on many things, but I think 30
cents per mile is a very conservative estimate. So let's consider one
round trip between Ogden and SLC, 36 miles each way. At 30 cents per mile, the
cost would be $21.60 to go to work and back one time, assuming you don't
have to pay for parking. You can ride FrontRunner for $10.20 round trip, if you
don't have a pass. And you'll be able to read, work, or relax instead
Reading, reading, reading...Wait for it...."That
could leave the agency and local cities with two painful options once the lines
are completed: Cut service or ask area residents for more money to operate the
trains and buses."And there it is. More taxes to pay for an
inefficient GOVERNMENT system (are there any other kind?)As if the
feds $60 trillion in debt and unfunded obligations weren't enough, Utah had
to spend money on lobbyists to run up the bill. THAT is where the deficits come
from -- PEOPLE, special interests and local governments running to the feds for
more, and of course, the feds don't say no, they just pass the cost along
to the next person. Only guess what, folks: other people may be paying for OUR
projects, but we are in turn paying for theirs. WAKE UP. This article is all
about what is WRONG with America!
I see Utahans bragging all the time about how healthy financially the State is.
I'd really like to see DN do some homework and compare the amount of
federal dollars given per State and then allocate per person in each State.
Seems as though the State of Utah is always there with its hand out for more
You ought to see the time and money that's going into this Draper line
project; it's nothing short of phenomenal. I'm thinking it will take
150 years of savings to cover it--IF they have the ridership, which I seriously
doubt. The assumption is that everyone wants to run downtown every day, and
they have plenty of time to get there. Of course many special interest groups
and even politicians are making a ton of money on the deal, and it's
undoubtedly a lot of stimulus money (i.e., money we don't have helping to
push us to the $16 trillion deficit level very soon), so we should all be happy,
right? Definition of an honest politician: One who, when bought, STAYS bought.
I'm betting with all the incentives provided by this monopolistic
boondoggle, they'll stay bought.
With the current gas prices, a commute to SLC from Ogden at 25mpg is around $14.
With an ECO pass, mass transit saves money. UTA could save expenses by
reducing the number of inspectors they have on the trains, i.e., people who just
sit there and count the number of people who get off and on at each stop. They
could replace them with the kind of electronic eye that some businesses have
when you enter and exit the door. I've been on some trains where there are
six inspectors, two for each car, but they all sit in one car and gossip. What
an egregious waste of money. Another way they could entice more riders
is to replace the uber-incompetent scheduler in the Meadowbrook office which
generates the bus schedules for the south and west valleys. The bus connections
are mostly seamless in SLC, but go south or west, there are many 25-29 minute
connection waits. Once in a while there will be a bus schedule that works well
for a lot of people but at the next change day it will be altered seemingly to
disenfranchise as many people as possible with evil glee.
This is going to end up being the boondoggle of boondoggles in this state. The
voters twice voted this thing down, but government dogooders forced it through
anyway. This is the typical government solution to something, the cure is far
worse than the disease, and the cost will go through the roof, and the taxpayer
will be stuck with the cost--as always. Fire those lobbyists immediately, end
all this nonsense. This thing will continue to grow until it fills every corner
of the state and sucks every conceivable dollar from every taxpayer.
According to the recent Legislative Audit, Trax is doing better than buses in
moving people financially, but Frontrunner is getting creamed.From
the minutes of the February 8, 2012 Infrastructure and General Government
Appropriations Subcommittee"Rep. Cox asked if UTA did not add
new lines and slowed the development of Frontrunner, would it change the debt
structure. Mr. Coleman replied that is not feasible because they are in the
midst of building and could not slow it down. A slowdown would need to be in
future projects."If UTA needs to slow down future development,
why are they spending new money on this new facility?"UTA debt
has grown from $300 million in2002 to over $2 billion in 2013. As a result
their bond ratings have been downgraded. Local sales tax revenue must cover the
capital and financing costs of UTA's projects. Even as sales tax revenue
increases, the auditor projects that debt service will consume an increasing
portion of sales tax and will impose a financial strain."
My problem with Frontrunner, other than it takes forever to go any distance, is
that the cost of going to SLC from Ogden is roughly the same as in my own
vehicle and I can drive directly to the place I want.
Conservative Utahn's really don't mind government spending, as long as
the money's spent on conservative Utahn's pet projects. But then,
that's the way it is all across the country too.
"I don't like the idea of people who don't use the system having
to subsidize it."You can only make the freeway so wide, and you
can only have so many parking spaces downtown. Don't just think of is as
paying for some poor shcmo to ride the trax, but as paying some money to not
have 20 minutes added to your commute from congestion, another 10 from
construction and another 10 from trying to find parking. And you might even get
some more breathable air during one of the inversions. Sounds like a fair deal
What a colossal waste of money, considering the ridership, especially from the
spur lines. Another case of trying to do what's trendy instead of doing
what's efficient--a bigger and better bus system.
I for one am glad they used the lobbyists and built the trains. Sometimes you
gotta pay to play. The trains are awesome. It's fine to spend government
money on things like trains in a place like SLC.
I can see it already. Education funding will be cut further due to lack of
funds for UTA. We already steal money from educating our children so we can
build roads and legislative offices, why not for trains?