Mass transit – TRAX, FrontRunner, UTA buses – is also for the common good and is worthy of our support. Whether or not we actually use mass transit, we all benefit from its existence. Less traffic on the roads means a smoother ride and less road maintenance for us. Fewer cars in stop and go traffic translates to cleaner air and fewer emissions.
Most importantly, mass transit means a way to work for thousands of Utahns who can’t afford a car and all the expenses associated with vehicle ownership. Buses and TRAX make it viable for less-abled individuals to get to the store, the library, work, and doctor’s appointments. Mass transit can be the great equalizer between those with private transportation and those who don’t.
Instead of complaining about mass transit, we should be lobbying for more routes and better efficiency. With TRAX and FrontRunner, many bus routes were discontinued or reduced. It should be the goal of UTA to provide more comprehensive service, making public transportation more accessible to more citizens. They are currently meeting with groups along the Wasatch Front to keep this service available for the disabled.
Mass transit isn’t cheap. But neither is public education, public libraries, or public safety.
It is the price we pay for a quality of life. Making transportation options available also makes the Wasatch Front a desirable place for businesses to locate. A forward thinking transportation system can make the difference when we compete for economic development. UTA needs to work smarter and become more efficient and Utahns need to look at mass transit as a necessity, not a luxury or a gimmick, to enhance our communities and serve all of our citizens.
The alternative is to bury our heads in the sand. In the short run and long run, that comes with a heavy price tag.
Raised in Davis County, Brandvold is employed in the financial industry — and proud to be a Utah Democrat.