By Jeremy Couch
As the weight of importance has been shifted between better public transportation versus avoiding a tax increase, residents voted to pass County Measure No. 1.
Residents of Salt Lake, Weber, and Davis Counties made the decision that better public transportation was the answer by passing the measure.
The Utah Transit Authority will be granted funding to develop better ways of public transportation.
UTA will use the funding to extend bus services and extend the hours the buses will run, said Kris McBride, UTA community relations’ officer.
Other projects UTA will be focusing on are developing light rail systems in West Valley City in Salt Lake County, and in West Jordon and Draper, Davis County.
UTA will also begin the process of implementing a commuter rail from Salt Lake City to Odgen, McBride said.
“We are still in the planning stages of implementing mass transit, but hopefully will be able to release more information soon,” he said.
Deborah Moeller, director of publication for the Sutherland Institute, who has been campaigning against County Measure No. 1, said the institute will now encourage residents and UTA to use the funds in the best capacity to benefit all.
“The most important facet UTA focuses on is improving bus systems and not waste money on trains,” said Randall O’Toole, economist and adjunct scholar of the Sutherland Institute.
The issue of raising taxes has caused controversy through the whole campaign and still plagues the minds of residents.
“We are absolutely being taxed to death, this is not the only piece of legislation that was passed to increase taxes in this area, said Janalee Tobias, co-founder of People Against More Taxes.
Of those who were against County Measure No. 1 the consensus seems to be to monitor UTA very carefully in their efforts to create better transportation.
“We are certainly not giving up, we are going to monitor UTA’s actions and make sure they don’t ask for more tax,” Tobias said.