Published: Saturday, Oct. 5 2013 12:00 a.m. MDT
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.
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.
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.
#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?
All that would happen with electronic tolling is people would avoid highways and
drive on the city streets.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
DeseretNews.com encourages a civil dialogue among its readers. We welcome your thoughtful comments.— About comments