Critical freeway needs are being ignored as UTA takes funds

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  • Ignorance
    July 7, 2008 10:03 a.m.

    This letter implies that our road needs aren't being met because UTA is taking the money. Wow! When did leadership give their power over tax policy and tax rates to UTA!?!

    Let's look at how UTA and UDOT are funded. Both can be given money straight from the state budget that can come from almost anywhere. In truth, the legislature gives UDOT a lot of money and UTA almost nothing. They are tax-phobic, and so don't want to be responsible for raising taxes to fund transit, even though the public (as evidenced by our recent sales tax increases) are willing to tax themselves to pay for it. UTA has taken their case to the people and been approved for taxes to fund multi-billion dollar projects.

    The opposite case is UDOT. The legislature, if they really wanted to address critical highway needs in a significant way, could put on a tax increase of any kind at any time. They could do that NOW. But they won't, because they fear taxes. So maybe blame our legislative leaders that UDOT doesn't have money. They can give it to them at any time, we just need leaders who will lead.

  • Re: Irony
    July 7, 2008 9:10 a.m.

    You have a good point about truck versus rail efficiency for freight.

    So look at the huge inefficiency of using great locomotives to haul a few dozen tons of people around. Commuter trains average, perhaps 60 passenger miles per gallon of fuel; buses, vans, and full-cars do better, much cheaper.

    UTA's locomotives have 3,600 hp diesel engines. Along a fairly level course, they could haul 4,000 tons of freight much more efficiently than trucks. But, when hauling people, UTA's express buses or vanpools are much more efficient. But, UTA has robbed ridership from those.

    To make a commuter train, UTA has had the transmissions regeared and the engines changed to , basically, hotrod these workhorses. Then, they run them wide open to get up to 79 mph, throttle back for a few minutesto maintain that speed, and then slam on the brakes before the next station. This is very inefficient, especially on fuel.

    Average speed is about 50 mph, not including the extra time getting into the parking lots and getting to the platforms. The real average speed is 40 mph or less. It is way below the speeds on freeways, unless government intentionally refuses to upgrade freeways.

  • Anonymous
    July 6, 2008 4:46 p.m.

    the reason no one uses UTA from the airport is that it is not convenient. The airport line will be a highly used line. Trax does not add to traffic congestion. 400 South capacity has not decreased since the U line went in. There are just more cars, which would be more if the line was not there.

  • re Oh Please | 12:57 a.m.
    July 6, 2008 1:19 p.m.

    "It only works if you live near a station and your destination is also near a station. How often does that happen? Not often. That's why autos are used in 99% of all travel".

    Rail doesn't have to "work" for most of us to benefit all of us. Why? Because those people who do take rail. Clear the freeways, use less oil, create more polution for the rest of us.

    Without raid, soon the freeways won't work for any of us.

  • Run trains on Natural Gas
    July 6, 2008 1:17 p.m.

    Uta should consider running their busses and trains on natural gas to save money.

    We need trains, without them the freeways would be too crowded.

  • Matthew
    July 6, 2008 11:22 a.m.

    You can't argue with the numbers. No for-profit organization would ever consider the rail plans we've seen no matter how subsidized because they simply don't make sense.

    Does anyone know why trucks are so often used instead of trains for shipping products? It's cheaper for a company to hire a truck that will take its product directly from point A to point B, despite the fuel costs, because it allows them to avoid managing a more complex system, and they won't be hamstrung by delays and losses that trains are notorious for.

    How is moving yourself (by train or automobile) any different?

    I can't afford the lost time and convenience, so I continue to buy gasoline and will as long as I can.

  • irony
    July 6, 2008 10:37 a.m.

    Here's a good comparison in the freight context, and it refutes Mr. Packard's skewed analysis that doesn't account for ridership in trains vs. cars, the `ton-miles per gallon' statistics: A train can move a ton of freight 436 miles on a gallon of fuel. A truck can only haul it 59 miles. Also, according the Department of Transportation, the average over the road truck pays approximately 70% of the road damage it incurs through fuel and other taxes. We the difference in money and the time spent in eternal construction jams.

  • re: Oh Please
    July 6, 2008 9:54 a.m.

    You don't make a good case for More Public Transportation with facts, just claims.

    Less cars, less traffic? Light rail actually increases traffic problems while cars wait for the trains.

    Less pollution? Where do you think the electricity to run light rail comes from? And in case you haven't noticed, the frontrunner runs on diesel.

    Less of a demand for Oil? Rail has done little to reduce demand for oil because it is so inefficient. It only works if you live near a station and your destination is also near a station. How often does that happen? Not often. That's why autos are used in 99% of all travel.

    See the actual numbers and efficiency of rail vs auto by googling "public purpose"

  • don't you just love...
    July 6, 2008 7:25 a.m.

    taxpayer subsidized inefficiency? it's a beautiful thing...

  • Hilarious
    July 6, 2008 7:06 a.m.

    Mr. Packard is always good for a laugh.

    Keep chasing those windmills.

  • GWB
    July 6, 2008 7:03 a.m.

    This is the type of thinking that lead to the Pumps in the Desert under Bangerter. It is also reminicient of the problems that General Motors is facing. Despite the prospect of increasing gas prices, GM staked their future on big SUVs with low gas mileage. Anyone noticed their stock price lately? They practically can't give away Suburbans now that gas is $4 per gallon.

    Wait til it hits $10? Who is going to drive at that price?

    Build the rail system and when gas is $10 there will be a way for the working poor to get to their jobs.

  • Oh Please
    July 6, 2008 12:57 a.m.

    This is just a complete load of hog wash. You write this article like UTA is the single contributing factor to the downfall of civilization as we know it.

    To answer the part of your story about critical freeway needs, UDOT creates freeways that are already outdated. when they are done, they tear them up again, and again and again. I have been in Utah now for 10 years, and I do not recall a period of time where there hasn't been freeway construction.

    In California they do it once, they do it right, and they don't have to rebuild for 20+ years.

    Gas is $4+ a gallon, I want Trax down to Provo ASAP. I am not the only one. If the money is there for UTA, I say build it. We have a fuel crisis, and UTA can be a huge savior to those of us fighting to survive financially. More Public Transportation, less cars, less traffic, less pollution and less of a demand for Oil.

    GET OVER YOURSELF and your own self interests