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UTA Makeover

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UTA Makeover
From the years of angst over the Utah Transit Aut­hority's ineptitude and corruption, it's clear that something needed to be done. And finally, the Legislature is moving ever so slowly to something. Front-page stories in the Deseret News and The Salt Lake Tribune heralded the task force recommending a small appointed commission, which would remove the highly paid chief and the smarmy 16-member board. The proposal recommends bonding and gives UTA access to transportation money, but stops short of a state takeover. Why? Because the state doesn't want to assume $2 billion of debt. If you think the proposal is a zero-sum answer, you're wrong. Commissions need staff support and pay, and Robert Gehrke thinks a bigger commission is the answer. Frankly, a good accountant would help.

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House & Home
The headline writers at The Salt Lake Tribune tell us what they think with "Not in my (neighbor's) backyard: Salt Lake City leaders give in to east-side opponents on 'mother-in-law' apartments." Yes, we know the population tsunami is coming and the city needs affordable housing. Still, the city has never been much of a friend of historic neighborhoods, instead filling developers' pockets through teardowns and construction. And there's no affordable housing requirement in new developments. The capital city needs density, affordable housing, homeless shelters and, yes, diversity in neighborhoods. When the council approved mother-in-law apartments for many areas, it excluded much of the east side. Because something of history should be preserved—even in a tsunami.

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Point of the Mess
The suggestion that the state rebuild the prison on-site was shot down because of the appetite for development around Point of the Mountain. The Trib reports that the state is bound to spend billions of dollars to develop the area and highways surrounding it. POM "could be the epicenter of growth in Utah," according to Natalie Gochnour, director of the Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute at the University of Utah. The story was giddy with the possibilities of high-paying jobs, lots of housing and business and ... business. But it did note that there's much at stake. You can't force people to use public transit, for instance. And will they be able to "encourage higher-density housing that puts more people closer to jobs" and wise water use? Transportation facilities could cost up to $11.4 billion. There's a lot of hope and imagination. Reality might be something else.

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