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On the Rails

Also: Missing Voices, Call It Like It Is



On the Rails
The Utah Transit Authority just can’t catch a break, and maybe it’s because there’s this lingering disdain for the Wasatch Front’s light-rail system. UTA has struggled to increase ridership and stay solvent. It has been fielding a chorus of complaints from those who are opposed to eliminating the downtown Salt Lake City free-fare zone, and now it’s dealing with angst over changing virtually all of its bus routes to “complement” the future Salt Lake City-to-Utah County FrontRunner. In 2010, only 3 percent of commuters rode UTA. The Washington, D.C.-based Brookings Institution thinks it’s great that transit riders have only a 90-minute commute time. But people don’t like to walk to transit stops and transfer a lot, which they avoid with cars.

Missing Voices
Sad news, but don’t we know it? Latinos just don’t see why they should vote. An unfortunate headline in The Salt Lake Tribune, “Choosing Not to Choose,” evoked thoughts of abortion, not voting. Still, the article helped readers understand why this growing segment of the population avoids the ballot box. The Trib embarked on a partnership with the Institute for Justice & Journalism at the University of Oklahoma to dissect the reasons, and, no duh, it’s because Latinos are too busy, too frightened about the immigration issue or just too cynical to think their vote makes a difference. Meanwhile, legislatures are trying to make it harder to vote despite a lack of evidence of fraud. Someone must like the status quo.

Call It Like It Is
Rep. Patrice Arent, D-Salt Lake City, is just ecstatic that the Deseret News is interested in clean air. So is she, as she tries to get lawmakers interested in what they breathe. Still, her House Bill 70 went down in defeat, even though it was just to set up an air-quality task force. And Gov. Gary Herbert thinks it’s just fine for everyone to voluntarily do something—maybe breathe less? The D-News pointed out just how dire the situation is. People are dying, and hey, businesses are suffering from the bad rep. Most of the pollution comes from cars and trucks, but that hasn’t stopped many from driving. For sure, Herbert, with his laissez faire attitude toward air, is no Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Here in Utah, we can quaff huge sugary drinks and breathe heavily particulated air if we want to.

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