To the editor:
I was amused to see that Rep. Wayne Owens and the Utah Transit Authority had spent the day of April 8 "playing train" on the Union Pacific right-of-way between Sandy and Salt Lake City. Of course, Owens is correct: If one desires to travel between ZCMI Sandy and ZCMI Salt Lake City, a light-rail system would certainly be a wonderful system to use.However, most commuters do not live near the Union Pacific right-of-way, and most commuters do not work downtown (fewer than 16 percent of all Salt Lake Valley employees are employed in the central business district). The overwhelming majority live and work at locations far removed from the proposed light-rail system route. Thus, most commuters would not be able to use the light-rail system but would be forced to use a "bus-train-bus" system.
Each Salt Lake County taxpayer should attempt to assess whether the proposed light-rail system would allow him or her to stop driving to work or, instead, use the "bus-train-bus" system. Included in the assessment should be the time lost in making two transfers, in addition to the actual transit time required. Most people who have done this assessment have discovered that the two transfers will require about the same amount of time required to travel by automobile to nearly any location in Salt Lake County.
If light rail will not work for you, it will also not work for your neighbor. And it will not work for all those other drivers you would like to have stop using the road you use to go to work every morning. Perhaps this is why the environmental impact statement indicated that the light-rail system would not eliminate much traffic from the freeway system.
Rep. David S. Ostler
Salt Lake City