Tag Archives: transportation

Considering public school transportation in the budget debate

(cross-posted to Utah Legislature Watch)

Utah Policy editors have published a piece on options for transportation of school children.

Currently, the Salt Lake City School District uses Utah Transit Authority for some of its school transportation needs. Many private schools also rely on UTA for student transportation.

Today, UTA bus routes obviously aren’t maximized for school needs. But within a couple of years, UTA’s backbone will be completed with new TRAX lines to Draper, South Jordan, West Valley, and the airport, and FrontRunner south to Provo.

Once those lines are completed, the next big program will be fill-in projects with streetcars, bus rapid transit, neighborhood bus service, bike trails, and walking trails. At that point, public transit service will be ubiquitous across the Wasatch Front, serving almost all neighborhoods. The overall transit system will then be robust enough to accommodate needs of older students.

This might be worth considering  if mass transportation wasn’t still  facing significant reductions in service due to budget woes.  But until there is a firm commitment to mass transportation without constantly being under the financial axe, such ideas will not be realized.

Dream on.

Outlining Priorities: Guv’s State of the State

Utah Legislature Watch)
Governor Herbert delivered his first State of the State Addre

tonight. His priorities including keeping taxes from being raised, holding public education harmless from budget cuts, transportation, and legislative ethics reform.

For the first time in three years, we are expecting an increase in revenue for the upcoming fiscal year. Housing is beginning to stabilize, the state’s labor market is resilient and our unemployment rate remains below the national average. I know this is of small consolation to those who are out of work, but we will continue to make sound policy decisions to move this state – and your families – back to solid economic ground and toward a more hopeful future. 

First and foremost, we must protect public and higher education. Utah has long been committed to funding our public schools, our colleges and universities, and our technical institutions. In fact, few states in the country spend as much of their overall budgets on education as we do. Our unique demographics – which is a way of saying we have larger families – mean we must continue to increase funding to maintain and enhance the solid education and training our students receive.

In spite of our difficult budget situation, I call upon you, our great legislators, to maintain our current level of commitment to education! Secondly, we must balance our budget responsibly, and in a way that does not stifle an economy that is finally beginning to show signs of recovery. We need to support our hard-working citizens and businesses, not stifle them with new tax burdens. We need to help them succeed, not hamper their success. And we need to think toward the future, not just of today. 


Read the entire text of Governor Herbert’s State of the State address here.

Let the Games Begin!

(cross-posted to Utah Legislature Watch)

Today’s opening of the Utah Legislature will bring  a variety of  issues in the spotlight, among them being:

The Budget- addressing the “shortfall” and how/if to use the “rainy day” fund and other measures to generate revenue –  and within the budget debate are the hot topics of public and higher education, state retirement system, transportation and taxes on food, as well as the overall raising of taxes issue.

Ethics Reform – including a controversial citizen’s initiative and a package of proposed ethics bills by legislators, inlcuding establishing an independent commission to hear complaints from citizens and putting limits on campaign contributions.

Fair Housing and Employment practice for gays and lesbians – a bill proposed that will afford the GLBT population protection from discrimination in employment and housing

Health Care Reform – an overhaul of Utah’s health care system through a package of bills that intend to divert the current sick care system to a more preventative health care system.

Sex Education – measures to determine how much information students should have access to when it comes to using contraception

Be sure to connect to the Utah Legislature’s website which has a multitude of resources including bill tracking, archived videos of the various sessions and a children’s page.  See also Utah Legislature Watch’s post on resources and the various news feeds along the sidebars of our site.

And awaayy we go!

Green Party Speakers Bureau

Yesterday I received a call from the Green Party of the United States Media Team which issued an invitation to me to be on the GPUS Speakers Bureau.  I was interviewed on tape last year by the national media team at the GPUS Annual National Meeting in Tucson, AZ.  I also was a speaker at the GPUS Women’s Caucus Press Conference (link to video clip) at the same National Meeting.

I want to accept.  I need more confidence, though.  And I way need more knowledge on issues which I continually strive to do through reading, listening and talking to people. 

Thinking out loud:  I’m not always a confident speaker unless I have a script.  But then what can give me more confidence than just jumping in and doing it?  I am told that I present myself well at events where I give speeches. 

When I ran for Salt Lake County Council in 2006 my issues were varied, but primarily focused on women’s issues and transportation.  I can speak passionately about those issues and want to learn more about those issues so I can serve as a more informed speaker.

I’m inclined, then, to accept.

To be continued…….