Mayor's Message: Let’s Clear the Air with New Transportation Funding
Dec 19, 2014 01:57PM
● Published by Sandy Mayor Tom Dolan
Cities throughout the state are joining together to educate their residents on the need for new transportation funding. I’ve chosen to join this cause because I am fully aware of the fact that our actual transportation costs far outweigh current state road funding, meaning we supplement roughly $2.4 million a year annually from our general fund. This is simply unsustainable and means we, as a city, will not only fall further behind every year on new construction and maintenance, but we will also have less money for other vital needs, such as public safety.
As we head into the winter season, I also know that new transportation funding can and will help us solve some of our air quality issues. Additional transportation funding will provide solutions for cleaner air including:
Reducing congestion on the roads, which in turn minimizes idling while in traffic. Currently, vehicle emissions are responsible for more than half of Utah’s air pollution. By having the necessary funding to complete the projects outlined in the Unified Transportation Plan, along with vehicle fuel efficiency improvements, we would reduce vehicle emissions 53% by 2040.
Increasing transit accessibility making its use viable for more Utahns. A comprehensive transportation approach recognizes we will not be able to meet growth demands without addressing traffic congestion, road and bridge maintenance, transit improvements and safe walking and biking paths.
Allowing for active transportation funding such as bike lanes, sidewalks and trails that can be alternatives to cars. Additional investment reduces cars on the roads, thus improving air quality. Our new city center plan, The Cairns, is also an ideal example of creating a live, work, play downtown where all services, including transit, are within walking distance, reducing the need for a vehicle.
As the legislative session approaches, we are educating legislators on every city’s need for new transportation funding and asking them to look at possible solutions. Utah’s population is expected to double by 2040. Unless we work together as elected officials and citizens, we will not be able to meet our current needs, much less the growth to come.