Did you think the Mountain Accord came from nowhere — that it was a product of immaculate conception. Naively, I guess I did. I envisioned a group of people sitting around a table throwing out ideas. Arguing. Agreeing. Compromising. Then finally devising a solution to our watershed issues in the Wasatch.
However, recently I was searching for some stats on the number of people who use Little Cottonwood Canyon. Imagine my surprise when I came upon a document entitled MTS Report Final. It’s a document from 2012, paid for by Salt Lake County, and prepared by Fehr & Peers and Lochner. What does the document describe? Everything I’ve read about transportation related to Mountain Accord. Does it have trains? Yes. Does it have a tunnel from Brighton to PCMR? Yes. Does it even describe where that tunnel starts and stops. You bet it does.
It is so complete that you wonder why they even did the Mountain Accord. Couldn’t they have just said, “Salt Lake County has come up with a plan. Summit County, we’d like you to agree to it.”? How complete is it? The transport time via rail from Brighton to Park City is estimated at 10-30 minutes. The cost from Brighton to Park City is estimated at at $730 million to $960 million. Wait, I thought we didn’t know costs?
To be fair, there are a number of different concepts presented including Bus, Bus Rapid Transit, Rail, and Aerial (gondola). Yet, everything we have heard at Mountain Accord meetings parrots the Salt Lake County plan. There are over 144 pages with details. As we readily admit, we aren’t the sharpest tool in the shed, so Park Rag readers, as you read this document let us know what we missed and what Summit County citizens should digest from this document. Please email me with any thoughts you have and the Park Rag will make sure your opinions are heard.
To us, after reading this document, it seems the Mountain Accord is an attempt to co-opt local governments, local organizations, and local people into Salt Lake County’s view of the future. They wrap this in the thinly cloaked veil of protecting our watershed. Our questions are, which interests are really being served by Mountain Accord, and given how dirty this all feels, do we really want to be a part of it?
We’ll leave you with a couple of charts from the MTS Document and a little commentary:
In Salt Lake County’s lowest-growth estimate (first chart), the number of vehicles in Little Cottonwood Canyon will grow by a total of 10% by 2030 (15 years from now). In the second chart, it shows growth over the last 12 years at about a total of 2%. So even their most conservative estimate isn’t likely conservative enough. Unless, of course, Mountain Accord can get that train going up Little Cottonwood with a tunnel to Park City, which will help Salt Lake County meet their apparent goal of filling up every last inch of the Wasatch with people.
At least we now know exactly which game we are playing.