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“Somebody Must Want It”

On Wednesday, County Deputy Attorney Dave Thomas provided an overview of how the Mountain Accord came into being, shifted its organizational structure, and major decisions it made. In some ways I felt like I was watching the trial of a mafia family… and I say that in a good way.

The topic of the connection between Big Cottonwood Canyon and Park City came up and Mr Thomas said four words that made so much sense.


His point was that Park City has made it clear they don’t want a tunnel. Summit County has made it clear they don’t want a tunnel. If no one else cared, it would have been completely removed from the Mount Accord Blueprint by now. But it hasn’t been removed. Therefore, someone must want it.

Who is that someone? That would be pure speculation, since I haven’t attended all meetings and heard all discussion, but I’m not above making reasonable guesses. So let’s play follow the money:

1. Sandy City: They have cheaper hotel rates than Park City. With a tunnel to Park City, people can stay in Sandy and take a train right over to Park City to ski and then come back to Sandy to stay the night and for a delightful evening of eating at Chili’s or Red Lobster.

2. UTA (Utah Transit Authority): I’ve come to believe there may not be a more powerful organization in the State of Utah than UTA. Perhaps they, or their executive leadership, think this has to be done. I won’t hazard a guess on the reasons for that as it could be very complex.

3. People who would likely be involved in building a tunnel. Tunnels aren’t cheap and whoever manages it, builds it, and supplies equipment for it would likely rather have the business than not. There’s nothing illegal about that. We all want business but knowing if those groups were applying pressure would be helpful.

4. It was said that some members of the Mountain Accord Board don’t have an opinion on the tunnel but they think everything should be studied. I would call these people more proceduralists than supporters of a tunnel. I would hope they are equally in favor of helping us study transportation up I-80 and around the 224/248 loop.

The interesting thing was that after Mr Thomas’ remarks, the Mountain Accord project manager, Laney Jones, and others who sit on the Mountain Accord Executive Board started making remarks that Sandy City’s Mayor doesn’t care at all about the tunnel. They said he was only interested in his fiefdom and couldn’t care less about a connection. They said that his statements were misrepresented. As these “defenses” were continually repeated all I could think was, “The lady doth protest too much, methinks.”

I keep coming back to what Mr Thomas said. Somebody must want it. Until we understand who that somebody (or somebodies) is we don’t know what the game really is. That makes me a bit nervous.



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RE: Yesterdays SC council work session on Mountain Accord. At the end Andy Beerman addressed the council and stated that he and Chris Robinson wrote the language to insert the study of a non auto transportation connection between PC and BCC into the current draft of the MA blueprint! (Section C iv). Right after they got the very same thing removed from the NEPA under Section B. WTF?

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