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Is Summit County’s Chris Robinson Playing Chess While the Rest of Us Are Playing Checkers with Mountain Accord?

During Wednesday’s Summit County Council meeting, council members Chris Robinson and Claudia McMullin were having a heated debate over whether there should be a connection between the Cottonwood Canyons and Park City as part of Mountain Accord. McMullin argued there was “no way in hell” that it should be allowed while Robinson asked something to the effect of “isn’t there SOME circumstance by which it MAY be possible we would allow a connection?” We believe McMullin clarified her stance with her original statement.

However, we began thinking about Mr Robinson’s choice of words and what he may really mean. We heard earlier in the meeting that having rail up Little Cottonwood Canyon, may require a connection to Park City to make it economically viable. So, for conjecture’s sake, let’s say that’s true. Let’s also say, for conjecture’s sake, that there are some powerful forces behind Mountain Accord. If the Little Cottonwood Rail has to happen, and Park City is needed to make it happen, and the backers would do almost anything to make it happen, what would we need to LET it happen?

What if somehow property tax equalization could be ended drastically reduced and our tax dollars stayed in the Park City School District? Or what if a rail loop was built from PCMR to Kimball Junction to Quinn’s and back to PCMR for us? Or what if UDOT provided and operated 30 buses for use within the Snyderville Basin (with no charge to us)?

Would you trade a tunnel for any of those? Desperate people offer crazy things. Perhaps Chris Robinson knows something we don’t. Perhaps he knows just how desperate someone is.

So, is Chris Robinson playing chess while we’re playing checkers? Maybe. It appears that he thinks there is enough potential there to keep us playing the game. The problem we see is that the likelihood of Summit County actually winning the game is pretty low.

First, Park City has (or could annex) the land needed for a tunnel to the Cottonwoods. Therefore, their whims would be served first.

Second, the horse trade will likely turn out to be underwhelming… Something like UDOT agreeing to upgrade 3 buses to Natural Gas and giving us a 10% off coupon to Arby’s.

Third, the farther this progresses and the less specifics around what benefits us, the harder it will be to pull out of the Accord (if necessary). At some point, face-saving will put us in a bad situation. While we think we may have leverage in the future, that leverage could be compromised over time.

So, while we think Mr. Robinson may be playing a more intelligent game that we are, we still doubt the outcome. We’d likely prefer a nice game of tic-tac-toe instead. As they say, “Strange game. The only winning move is not to play.”



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