Yesterday I wrote that a Mountain Accord meeting on Monday indicated that the tunnel between Brighton and PCMR was dead. Let’s just say that I may have been wrong … or perhaps more precisely that the nails aren’t quite in the coffin yet.
I have received feedback from the community indicating where the potential for the tunnel, to come back to life, exists. Let’s look at some of those:
- A meeting of many of the parties associated with the Accord on Monday agreed to remove the tunnel from the “proposed actions” for the environmental phase (NEPA) of the Mountain Accord. Yet, this removal still needs to be voted on. Between now and that point lies a Mountain Accord retreat which could alter perspectives, and votes, of Accord members. So, removing the tunnel may not become reality… or more likely language will be constructed to make it appear that the tunnel is dead … but in reality it will be like one of those zombie movies where it will show its ugly head once again.
- Imminent domain could still put the tunnel in play. Imminent domain is the right of the state or federal government to do what they want for the “general good.” The Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT) could still decide they want a tunnel and theoretically nothing could stop it.
- If you look at the proposed language that is said to be added to the Mountain Accord Blueprint, it basically says “nothing can be done to someone” and that supposedly protects us from the Mountain Accord building a tunnel if we don’t want it. Yet, you have to ask who is “we”. Not to get all Monica Lewinsky and Bill Clinton on you, but the definition of “we” is important. In this case the “we” is the Park City City Council. The Park City Council actually represents a small portion of people in the area, compared to Summit County whose Summit County Council encompasses all the Snyderville Basin residents. Because of this, you have to account for the fact that Park City council people could be coopted into supporting a tunnel and there is nothing that most of us could do about it.
- Throughout the process, there have been allegations of conflicts of interest with regard to members of the Mountain Accord Executive Committee. Some of these alleged conflicts are with people at the highest levels of government. Since there has formally been nothing agreed upon, Mountain Accord representatives would tell you that there are no conflicts. That may be true and you should believe what you want, but what you should be concerned with is the process that this whole proposal will follow. If I’ve learned anything from following local government, is that there is usually an agenda. If there wasn’t, most actions wouldn’t be started. And the motto, “if at first you don’t succeed, try try again” is at the fore-front of my mind. The people running Mountain Accord are at least 3 steps ahead of the rest of us. If somone who is really important demands a tunnel to Park City, this minor setback won’t stop them. And in a process as complicated as this, there are plenty of places to re-insert that little hole through the mountain.
If you speak with those people in the know about the death of the tunnel, you’d likely describe them as cautiously optimistic. That said, I’m sure each of them would also advise constant vigilance.
Given quite a few discussions over the last 24 hours, I’d recommend that too.