Comments about ‘In our opinion: Variable tolls would help clean the air’

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Published: Saturday, Oct. 5 2013 12:00 a.m. MDT

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Mike Richards
South Jordan, Utah

Let's think about this for just a minute. The Deseret News Editorial Board wants to tax workers for going to work, workers who already pay 50% or more in direct or hidden taxes. Does the Editorial Board wants Utah to become like the socialist countries listed in the editorial? What right does the Constitution give to Washington to fine Utahns for air in Utah? Is that Interstate Commerce?

Maybe the better way to solve the air quality problem would be to halt all commercial traffic on days when the air quality is poor. How would the Deseret News like it if their delivery trucks, full of newspapers could not be driven because Washington decreed that the Deseret News was causing too much polution?

Look at the obvious ways that would keep help. LOWER taxes for businesses that stagger their workers' hours so that congestion is minimized. LOWER taxes for businesses that allow their workers to work from home.

How about closing the parking lots to the malls, concerts and athletic events on bad air days? Close the student parking lots at high schools. Put in bike parking racks.

ingslc
salt lake city, UT

Thank you for the great editorial. I think this idea should certainly be explored, but I if the average citizen will have to pay for his car pollution, then industry should also pay for the pollution it puts into the airshed. Why only lay it on the back of the average commuter? Industry can scrub their emissions better or pay, just like I can ride my bike or pay.

10CC
Bountiful, UT

Mike:

Actually, the air in Utah *is* a federal issue, something that should be regulated as interstate commerce, because our air today is Colorado's concern tomorrow. That's just the way the wind blows, it's not an invention of Barack Obama, it's not some political ploy to enslave the masses against the intent of the Founding Fathers.

Imagine if Nevada decided to defy the evil feds and allow industry to belch enormous amounts of smoke and toxic gases, defiantly proud of having no government regulation, proud of a growing, vibrant industrial base, which happens to let toxins blow into Utah to harm our people and children? Hmmmm.... this may be an interstate issue, after all.

As for the rest of your suggestions, they all smack of heavy-handed government interventionism, picking winners and losers. How can government tell the property owners of shopping malls they can't allow customers to park? This is completely anti-freedom, right?

Actually, I'm happy to see that you agree that just doing nothing is not the smart choice, and some kind of government authority will be needed to benefit everyone.

2 bits
Cottonwood Heights, UT

#1. RE The DMNs rationalization that "Other cities are doing it"... Like I tell my kids, just because others are doing it does that mean YOU should do it?

#2. RE The weather analogy... "Everybody complains about it but nobody does anything about it"... Can we CHANGE the weather? No.

I agree that we should drive as little as possible always and especially on inversion days, but even charge drivers on I-15, we will still have bad air trapped in the valley on those days. Bad air days happen in Cache County and Uintah County during winter inversions, and they don't have I-15 or a lot of traffic. So even with less cars we will have bad air days. Tolls will just satisfy people who feel it's their job to control others behavior.

#3. As the article pointed out, the worst thing possible is stopped cars or cars going slow in heavy traffic. Has anybody seen the lineups of cars at toll booths? That's a lot of cars idling and polluting and going nowhere.

Imagine a toll booth on I-15 at 80th South... would that not ADD to congestion?

Shaun
Sandy, UT

All that would happen with electronic tolling is people would avoid highways and drive on the city streets.

Trapped in Utah
heber city, UT

Public transportation is not an option for all - the same can be said for telecommuting. What about opening the commuter lanes to free use for hybrid vehicles (encouraging ownership of these vehicles)?
Until I see the substantial corporate pollution being addressed aggressively, I am against penalizing the general public for things that they have no control over.

2 bits
Cottonwood Heights, UT

Tolls are for raising money... not for cleaning the air.

Tolls punish blue-collar workers much more than it punishes white-collar workers.

I suspect most of the driving happening on I-15 is necessary (people who really need to get to work) not discretionary joy riding. And no matter how much you punish them... they are going to need to get to work.

The poor will be punished most by this toll (because they can least afford to pay it and can do little to avoid it if they want to get to work). Not everybody can afford a hybrid, not everybody can afford a monthly UTA pass, carpooling doesn't work for everybody.

I hope we don't decide to do this just to make some people in politics feel like they are "doing something", or because others are going it. Reducing the number of drivers on I-15 by a small percent won't fix the problem. We would have to have less drivers in SLC than they have in Vernal to do it (because even Vernal has air problems on inversion days).

SEY
Sandy, UT

One thing to may legislators and social engineers fail to take into account: taxes and fees change behavior in unpredictable ways. Too many tax initiatives result in intended consequences that create a "cure" worse than the problem they were meant to solve. Rather than penalizing drivers with taxes and fees, I suggest that positive incentives be offered for desired behavior.

SEY
Sandy, UT

Corrected comment (sorry for the typos):

One thing too many legislators and social engineers fail to take into account: taxes and fees change behavior in unpredictable ways. Too many tax initiatives result in unintended consequences that create a "cure" worse than the problem they were meant to solve. Rather than penalizing drivers with taxes and fees, I suggest that positive incentives be offered for desired behavior.

Hamath
Omaha, NE

Kudos to all the ideas here, It's great to see this continue to get addressed. No reason for Utah to end up like China's bad cities. It's a problem that can be fixed given enough momentum in the public eye and thoughtful solutions.

Ultra Bob
Cottonwood Heights, UT

I think there are two kinds of business. One being the kind that hires people to make things and another being parasites that feed on the people who make things.

The transportation industry in Utah is mainly the latter. It is those who sell, service, repair and fuel the vehicles that are required to move people about. People are forced to move about because they can’t always live next to where they work and where they spend their wages.

Public transportation costs too much for the incontinences of putting up with it.

Any significant reduction of vehicles and trips would reduce profits for the people in the automotive industry. And being businessmen they have considerable influence on our legislators.

The legislators, even though they are republican, are working hard to find every way to tax the working people.

redshirt007
tranquility base, 00

If you want republicans to go along with it you just have to privatize the roads first, then They'll be all over the idea.

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