Down in the valley this November, many residents will be voting on Proposition 1, a sales tax increase to benefit transportation. However, South Jordan Mayor, Dave Alvord has launched a campaign against the tax increase. His main arguments are:
- Half the revenue associated with the tax will go to UTA (Utah Transit Authority… the bus and rail people).
- UTA Bus and rail are being subsidized at 85%-95% levels — meaning that fares don’t even begin to cover costs.
- Mass transit works best in areas of the United States with dense populations. But here in Utah, drivers have voted with their keys and have largely chosen the car over the bus.
- Proposition 1 does not allow for cities to offset their current transportation spending. What that means is that every city will have a de facto “pedal to the metal” transportation budget. This one-size-fits-all approach will force cities that already have sufficient funding for transportation to find new projects for this money — projects that might not be needed.
- A sales tax increase would hurt the middle and lower classes disproportionately.
- We should focus transportation spending where there is the highest demand: roads.
A similar vote is likely coming to Summit County next year.
What’s interesting about Mayor Alvord’s ideas are almost diametrically opposed to what we here from our leaders, here. He seems to basically be saying that Utahns want cars, any proposal that gives a significant amount of money to UTA won’t be spent effectively, and the taxes hurt the middle and lower classes. It’s a set of arguments we should keep in mind as we head into next year.
We all want to ensure that KPCW doesn’t have to start doing traffic reports “on the 9’s” but a editorial like Mayor Alvord also argues that we may not want to blindly agree to a sales tax increase in the hope that it will do some good.