For the past decade and more, downtown Salt Lake City, the center of the city and our fair state, has languished. It was adversely affected, among other factors, by the construction of UTA tracks on Main Street. Two shopping malls and other businesses failed.

We had more vacant store windows than at any time in living memory. City Creek opened doors recently to the cheers of the whole state and region. Estimates that more than 50,000 people would come downtown for the grand opening probably proved to be conservative. More will come every day, including growing numbers of convention visitors.

I have spoken to many tourists as they peered at maps or discussed how to get around. They were uniformly gratified and surprised that travel on UTA downtown is free. Employees from the state capitol love UTA and so do the cafes where they eat lunch. So do we senior citizens who use UTA to move around the central business district and travel to the library, to Temple Square, to Gateway, to a Jazz game or other events.

UTA owes its existence to Salt Lake City, its merchants and its citizens. Now is not the time for UTA to renege on its promises to the city.

Now is the time for the Salt Lake City Council and the mayor to slam the door on UTA's efforts to end the free-fare zone.

Jerry P. Cahill

Salt Lake City