Up To Speed

What transportation lesson is there to learn from Salt Lake City?

What transportation lesson is there to learn from Salt Lake City?.

I visited Utah earlier this year to see what they were doing with their transit systems, and was stunned to see the amount of investment made in transportation infrastructure. The Salt Lake City region boasts new highways, commuter rail, light rail and streetcars, bike share, bus improvements and inter-city passenger and freight rail enhancements. But how is this possible in one of the most conservative cities and states in the U.S.? Well it’s simple; they have increased taxes and relied on the business community to sell those tax increases to the public. When and if the business community in Cincinnati will ever step up and do the same is a great question to ask. More from the Salt Lake Tribune:

McAdams noted that the approach of selling transportation as a way to improve the economy helped build support needed for the Utah Transit Authority to just complete adding 70 miles of new rail lines two years early and under budget, and for such highway projects as using local money to rebuild Interstate 15 in Utah County.

McAdams noted that state and regional planners for highways and mass transit in Utah recently issued a unified plan for projects needed through 2040. The Utah Foundation issued a subsequent report saying current taxes would fall $11.3 billion short over 30 years to fund priority projects identified in that unified plan…Utah business and civic leaders have used such data to persuade the Legislature this year to study how and whether to raise taxes to fund projects in the 2040 plan. For example, its Transportation Interim Committee is scheduled Wednesday to discuss potentially raising gasoline taxes to meet some of the needs.

By Randy A. Simes

Randy is an award-winning urban planner who founded UrbanCincy in May 2007. He grew up on Cincinnati’s west side in Covedale, and graduated from the University of Cincinnati’s nationally acclaimed School of Planning in June 2009. In addition to maintaining ownership and serving as the managing editor for UrbanCincy, Randy has worked professionally as a planning consultant throughout the United States, Korea and the Middle East. After brief stints in Atlanta and Chicago, he currently lives in the Daechi neighborhood of Seoul’s Gangnam district.