Utah’s Infrastructure Plan
Utah Infrastructure has multiple complex facets: roads, bridges, water & sewer lines, water rights, electric power capabilities and the grid, etc.
Just in the Roads portion, there are multiple levels of this division with class C roads, class B roads, arterial highways, interstates and state highways. The State funnels funds to the counties and municipalities for the maintenance of the miles of Class B & C roads they contain.
Maintaining the roads in counties and cities/towns/villages in Utah is important for citizen access, for school bus access, for getting in and out of the areas in Beautiful Utah.
This was brought out to residents of San Juan County who live on the Navajo Reservation with dirt-roads which are tribal roads but had been maintained by San Juan County until the Navajo Tribal road division pressed their jurisdiction. Recently, the roads had fallen into disrepair and were almost impassable for school buses getting the children to and from schools.
With two County Commission members being members of the Navajo Tribe, and after much negotiation with the Tribe, an agreement was signed providing San Juan County Road personnel the responsibility of maintaining many of the essential roads once again. The Tribe agreed to defer some of the costs of the maintenance of their roads, since the Tribal Road Department has many more roads to deal with – some quite isolated stretches – and to maintain, they welcomed the help San Juan County can provide in the section called “The Utah Strip.”
ROADS & Bridges -
In this portion, we have federal and state responsibilities as well as County and municipal jurisdictions to worry about. Federal responsibilities include the Interstate Highway system, and help with the maintenance of them by state crews (snow and ice removal, filling potholes and reconstruct or expanding the highways and system, dealing with wildlife issues, etc.).
State responsibilities, here in Utah, fall under the responsibility of UDOT (Utah Department of Transportation). We have a Transportation Commission, which are appointed by the Governor, and acts as an independent advisory committee regarding transportation issues and UDOT projects. The group prioritizes transportation projects and decide how the money is spent.
Commissioners: Wayne Barlow (Region 1), Natalie Gochnour (Region 2 – SL, Tooele, Summit), Jim Evans (James T. Evans) (Region 3 – Daggett, Juab, Duchesne, Uintah, Utah, Wasatch), and Naghi Zeenati (chair & UDOT Region 4) are commissioners with area responsibilities; Kevin Van Tassel, Lew W. Cramer, Donna J Law are at-large commissioners.
UDOT’s Mission and vision is: “UDOT’s vision is as simple and straightforward as its name. Their primary aim is to Keep Utah Moving. That includes everything from improving roads and traffic lights to providing alternate means of getting from A to B, like bike lanes and public transit. UDOT wants to make sure that whatever is being moved, freight and cargo or the people in a vehicle, arrives safe and promptly.”
To help accomplish this vision UDOT has offices throughout the state. The main office is the Calvin Rampton Building in Salt Lake City. This office houses general administration, communications, port of entry administration, labs, and vehicle maintenance. UDOT also has four region offices from northern to southern Utah and each region oversees administration, construction, and maintenance of all state roads, highways, and interstates within their areas.
UDOT uses a data-driven analysis of the relative strengths of the capacity projects proposed in the first phase of their Unified Plan system. Each project receives a score based on functional classification of the facility, current and projected future traffic volumes, truck traffic, and safety benefits. The system ranks the projects list using these objective criteria to assist the Utah Transportation Commission in deciding which project to fund and add from the long-range plan into the Statewide Transportation Improvement Program (STIP).
In addition, they have traffic warrants that need to be ‘fulfilled’ in order to get stop signs, traffic control devices and other safety measures along the US highways and byways. Utah has several such highways which cross the state and carry traffic to and from neighboring states – US Hwy 40 (which goes from Silver Junction through NE Utah into Colorado and on to Chicago, Illinois), I-15 (one of the major North to South Interstates in the nation), I-70 and I-80 (for the East and West Interstates), etc.
Some bridges also fall into UDOT’s responsibilities. In many rural areas, on county roads, they use railroad flatbed cars to cross over washes and streams – it is a normal process for county road sheds to use salvaged rail cars in this way. But UDOT has to have engineered structural bridges over riverways and other bodies of water and over the major Insterstates throughout the state. UDOT has also developed new methods of bridge construction on site which is being duplicated in other states. The technique of spanning multiple lanes (e.g., I-15) is a lot shorter construction time with the new technology UDOT developed is both innovative and less expensive the previous methodologies.
Gas Tax use & repeal
NOT increasing it - again!
Gas taxes and Highway use taxes (NOT TOLL FEES!) are important to UDOT and our current road repair funding. BUT, with the increase of alternate fuel vehicles (electric and otherwise) these fees and taxes are being eroded. What we DON'T need is to raise them and increase the burden of taxation on our residents, as Gov. Herbert has already proposed and is seeking to do as you read this!
We have a plan to repeal the GAS TAX, Food Tax, and put a major dent into property & other taxes. WE see one of the purposes of government as providing services such as roads. It is part of the purpose of proper government.
Water systems and rights –
Water quality is under the supervision of the Department of Enviornmental Quality’s Water Quality Division and the Water Quality Board. For discussion of Water Quality, especially the EPA’s work in this area, see our Issue Paper on Clean Water in Utah.
Water systems and water rights falls under a different agency – the State Engineer who is the Director of the Utah Division of Water Resources (UDWR), which is part of the Utah Department of Natural Resources.
UDWR is an important group of analysts and policy people because water is literally the life-blood of a desert. Utah is the second driest state in the nation, making water even more important.
Utah is the location of several large water storage and water distribution projects (e.g., Lake Powell, Starvation Reservoir, Strawberry Reservoir, Central Utah Project, Bear River Development Project and even a Lake Powel Pipeline, etc.); along with these big money projects politics of water policy has also had an effect on water resources. In 2015, a legislative audit found that the UDWR was overestimating Utah’s water needs and underestimating Utah’s water supply – which hasn’t helped getting a handle on the proper use and value of this natural resource.
The average Utahn uses 260 gallons of water per day in 2005, about triple the national average of 80-100 gallons per day – perhaps in part because of our climatology in the desert. Using the year 2000 as a baseline, the state set a conservation goal to reduce water use by 25 percent by the year 2025. If Utah does not conserve, the UDWR predicts Utah’s water supply will be unable to meet demand by 2025 – we cannot let that happen!
Water Rights are part and parcel of property rights. Such property rights are an essential component of market economies, giving owners the ability to trade and the confidence to invest in capital. Property rights should be able to be divided and traded in portions, the owner of the right must have the ability to sell or transfer the right to another party, and the right must be protected through some form of governance.
Water is costly to store, flows across property lines, can be reused, and is delivered by the uncontrollable forces of the weather. Without property rights for water, agricultural users would not produce, cities could not develop, and water resources would be subject to overuse, falling prey to the tragedy of the commons (which is a case of too few exclusions rights, which prevents used of a resource from excluding other users of a resource, resulting in overuse and depletion.)
From the pioneer era (1847 – mid-19th Century), Utah’s dry climate necessitated irrigation and the settlers wasted no time in diverting water from mountain streams to irrigate their crops. The pioneers viewed water as a collectively owned resource to be distributed according to the needs of the community. Water rights granted by the community were tied to the land and could not be sold without selling the land that used them. As communities developed from initial settlements, informal ways of managing water became less practical and users began forming mutual irrigation companies.
Upon establishment of the Territory of Utah (1850) the management of water was placed in the hands of county courts. Eventually, in 1865, irrigation districts via the pass of an irrigation district law, water districts attempted to form by cooperation with irrigation companies – that latter were formed as a cooperative management system by communities. Then in 1880 the Legislature codified an act which moved water rights away form a communitarian system, where rights were centrally managed, to a private system, where individual users had more freedom to use and sell their rights. This marked the beginning of the use of prior appropriation, and separated water rights from the land property rights. It was a vitally important development in the privatization of water as it allowed water to be traded independent of land. Private irrigation corporations now served as distributors, buying water and selling it to who needed it. Privatization attracted national and even international investors.
The establishment of statehood transitioned water rights from an almost exclusively private system established a more modern system by state law, where the state government manages water as a public resource. One year after statehood, the legislature created the Office of the State Engineer, later renamed the Division of Water Rights, and became the central governing authority of water in Utah.
Currently, some of Utah’s water is managed under the Colorado River Compact of 1922. This compact is an agreement between Utah, Colorado, Wyoming, and New Mexico, who make up the Upper Division of the compact, and California, Nevada and Arizona, who make up the Lower Division. The states agree to split the use of the Colorado River’s water, with each division allowed 7.5 million acre-feet per year.
Utah’s borders fall across four hydrological regions, as defined by the US Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service and the US Department of the Interior’s United States Geological survey (USGS). These four hydrological regions are further divided up into 15 hydrological basins and 68 sub-basins. Water is only slightly complicated, don’t you know!
Roughly, each of the 15 hydrological basins have their own conservancy district in Utah. These conservancy districts act under the authority of the Utah Water Conservancy Act. They actively engage with the public they oversee to manage water rights. Including conservancy districts, counties, and cities, there are at least 468 public water providers in Utah. And then there are 1,128 irrigation companies in Utah (as of July 2016). Get the picture?
Agriculture continues to be by far the largest use of water in Utah, with 82 percent of developed water being used by farmers and ranchers. However, with populations expanding in Utah, the demand for water for municipal and commercial uses, such as housing developments, technology companies, and power plants, is increasing.
We need to review our water rights regulations and will commit to reform or remove the doctrine of ‘beneficial use’ as well as study reforming the bureaucratic process of water trading – with a hard-look at the process Colorado uses with the Colorado-Big Thompson Project system – and looking at reducing transaction costs to water trading. We will also be considering elimination of water deliverance ‘user fees’ along with our cut to Utah property and income taxes – ‘user fees’ are just another name for a tax, “a rose by any other name…”
Waste Water (Sewer) projects:
Waste Water falls under the supervision of the Department of Environmental Quality’s Water Quality Division and the Water Quality Board. For discussion of Water Quality, especially the EPA’s work in this area, see our Issue Paper on Clean Water in Utah. But for Storm Water and Waste Water, we have to go to the Water Quality Division.
Waste Water is defined in R-317-1. Just the definitions contained in this Administrative rule gives one more information about Waste Water than anyone want to know, initially. State Water Quality supervised the municipal waste water treatment plants and the resultant effluent.
This is a hot topic due to the continuing in-migration of people to the state and other associated growth (births, etc.). It is a critical part of the state’s infrastructure, and as such, state leadership should review both the ‘status’ and ‘state’ of this essential portion of the state infrastructure.
One thing we need the DEQ/WQD to coordinate is the odor problem which arises from Waste Water Treatment Plants - especially in the summers.
Power lines and the grid
In Utah, we are in a unique position with our power needs supplied by a utility monopoly for the majority of the state, augmented in the rural areas with cooperatives. Utah Power and Light took the dense populated urban areas and left the rural areas to the Rural Electric Project (REA started in 1938 into the ‘40s) … but before that, … the electric service in Utah began in the spring of 1881 when the Salt Lake City Light, Heat, and Power Company started supplying electricity to light some of Ogden and Salt Lake City's streets, businesses, and public buildings.
Pre-1900s saw technical electrical knowledge as limited as was early unsophisticated equipment. Most of Utah's early power plants were hydro-electric ones, small, isolated, locally owned, poorly financed and equipped, and located on canyon streams where they were subject to uncertain fluctuations. Service was unreliable, available only part-time, and only slowly extended throughout the state. By the early 1890s, after more than a decade, only five Utah cities and towns had electricity, each with their own small utility company: Salt Lake, Ogden, Logan, Provo, and Park City. About this time, electric streetcars began showing up in the state's major cities (Salt Lake City, Provo, etc.) and interurban lines connected towns along the Wasatch Front. About a century later, these inter-urban lines became the Front Runner’s track-beds along the Wasatch Front.
In the mid-1890s a depression caused all five independent municipal electric companies to merge into one large company.
“From that point forward only one major company generated electricity for lights, heating and power for Utah’s two largest cities with little competition from any other electric companies … The men who invested money, initially, in the emerging industry were pioneers in their own right. Men like G.S. Erb, William S. McCormick Joseph F. Smith, George Q. Cannon, and others who gave strength and character to the business as it grew in Salt Lake City and Ogden [the Salt Lake Light, Heat and Power Company which would become known, in the 20th Century, as Utah Power]. Through their steadying influence, they lifted sagging companies and gave them the will to survive.” (Electrification of Utah 1880 to 1915, MA in History Thesis by Boyd L. Dastrup. USU 1976, pgs 15-16)
Rural Electrification started in the 1930s via the Federal Rural Electrification Project. By looking at the history of one such rural cooperative we can see the progress innovative pioneers have brought to the entire State of Utah. We look at Moon Lake Electric of the Uintah Basin, in Northeastern Utah.
Moon Lake Electric - A case study of Rural Electrification -
Moon Lake Electric was organized in 1938 as a rural electric cooperative by residents of Northeastern Utah who were unable to obtain electric service from a private power company.
S.K. Daniels, an early pioneer of Moon Lake Electric, wrote a letter to the Rural Electrifi-cation Administration in Washington, inquiring about possible loan funds to enable residents to begin construction of lines and equipment. Soon a non-profit corporation was formed and funds were approved, allowing residents to get started with building their own power system.
At the present time, Moon Lake employs 91 full-time employees, 5 part-time employees, and furnishes power to over 19,000 member accounts in Northeastern Utah and Western Colorado. Moon Lake's headquarters office is located in Roosevelt, UT, with district offices in Duchesne, Utah, and in Rangely, Colorado.
“The story of bringing electrification to rural America in the 1930s and ’40s began in darkness and was brought into the glowing light of optimism and promise found in the genius of a man [Thomas Edison] inspired by the Almighty coupled with the honest sweat of industry. It is a story of how hope and dreams were transformed into dynamic and spirited achievement as an extraordinary collaboration was put into place between the federal government and rural America in an unwavering labor to electrify all Americans’ homes and farms.”
That is how John D. Barton began his History of Moon Lake Electric, entitled A Remarkable Past and a Bright Future, which was written for the 75thanniversary of the starting of Moon Lake Electric. It traces the beginning (1938, as mentioned above) to the 21st Century (2013, the 75th anniversary year).
“The National Academy of Engineering named Electrification of America as ‘the greatest engineering achievement of the 20th Century.’
“How the rural areas were electrified is one of the greatest achievements of cooper- ative and economic democracy this nation has ever known. In the late 1930s and early 1940s farm men and women all over America went up and down the country roads—petitioning, organizing, electing—for power. They met. They planned. They built. The entire process of securing signatures, the ‘sign-ups,’ the pledge of land for the lines, was a test of rural citizens and their leaders, of their collective resolve to attain the long-denied power. Most met that test and more. They would learn about the mysteries of electricity later. Now it was their cooperative savvy and skills, their great desire, that made the difference.
“While locked in both a severe depression and the worst drought in over a century, their lives were little different than that of the pioneers in the rest of the state from generations earlier. Few of the rural homes of the region had even the minimum of modern conveniences. They lit their homes with candles and coal-oil or kerosene lanterns. Housewives cooked their families’ meals on a wood-burning stove, and pickled and preserved most of their fruits and vegetables, and stored the rest in hand-dug root cellars. Meat was preserved by bottling, smoking, or drying. They sewed their clothes at home by hand or on a pedal-driven Singer sewing machine. Mother washed the family’s clothing on a scrub-board and dried them on clothes- lines, with some families so lacking that they had to wait in the bedroom for the clothes to dry, for they only had one shirt or skirt. Rose Gardner of Neola details:
‘Monday mornings was my wash-day and I put my water in a tub outside in the summer to heat it. But in the winter you’d heat it on the stove in the house. Then I’d rub on the board [wash board] and I’d notice my knuckles a rubbin’ on the board they’d kinda get skin- ned up and take all the hide off a lot of ‘em, but by the next Monday they were healed up so I could go at it again [sic].’
“Farmers milked their cows by hand, usually in the hour before sunrise and after sunset in a small pool of flickering light made by a distinctive-smelling coal oil lantern. Floors were swept not vacuumed. Wood and rock were worked with hand- tools powered by strong arms. Hand-pumped bellows blew forge fires to sizzling heat to weld steel by hammering the red-hot metal on an anvil for repairs to farm implements. They made their own music without electricity for their dances— usually only a piano and fiddle; and even the organ at church was pumped by the feet of the player. The average farming family spent ten hours a week simply hauling water from wells and springs. A windless crank, usually turned by the small arms of children or tired farmwives, was used to haul water from their wells to the surface. …
“The Uinta Basin was extremely isolated with no easy route into the region. Some had automobiles in the 1930s, but many, especially in the rural regions, still rode horses or arrived in wagons and buggies to school and church. Crossing the mount- ain passes that rim the Basin on unimproved roads was a constant challenge, especially in the winter. Most farmers still relied on teams of horses to work their lands for clearing, plowing, planting, and harvesting, although with the drought of the time, little harvesting was being done. During the economic boom of the 1920s, while much of the nation was engaged in stock speculation and enjoying the luxury of wringer washers, radios, vacuum cleaners, and other electrical items, most Basin farmers lived an austere life. By the 1930s the United States lagged significantly behind Europe in providing electricity to rural areas due to the unwillingness of power companies to serve farmsteads. In 1934, only some 10 percent of U.S. farms had electricity. In Germany and France that same year, nearly 90 percent of farms had electricity.
“Basin farmers had long anticipated that the privately owned power companies who served the larger communities of the region would extend service to the small comm- unities and rural farms. But it was not to be. Private utility companies argued that it was too expensive to string power lines to isolated rural farmsteads. They further argued that most farmers were too poor to afford electricity; however, it was a common practice for private power companies to set rural rates four times as high as city rates. Morris L. Cooke, the first head of REA, explains: ‘In addition to paying for the energy he used, the farmer was expected to advance to the power company most or all of the costs of construction . . . Such costs were prohibitive for most farmers.’ Disincentives for private power companies to spend their investment capital to fund infrastructure in the rural parts of America created an ever-growing difference in the standard of living between urban and rural citizens. Electricity’s huge productive efficiency, largely unavailable to the agriculture industry, left it lagging behind other sectors of the economy in the 1880 to 1930 period. …
“When the stock market crashed on October 29, 1929, it signaled the beginning of this nation’s worst financial depression. With the homesteading era shortly behind them, Uinta Basin residents struggled to make a living. Financial difficulties deep- ened with the Depression and drought of the 1930s. As farm prices fell because of the nationwide overproduction of farm produce, prices dropped to new lows, and farmers, the backbone of the region’s economy, had less and less cash to spend. By the summer of 1933, following the election of Franklin D. Roosevelt, some of his New Deal programs were being implemented. Over the next years, some 40 percent of rural Uinta Basin residents were receiving public assistance, making them the highest assisted group per capita in the state. As the various New Deal programs went into effect, the economy had marginally improved, and the number of people dependent upon the government dropped significantly by December 1938.12 Under these crushing conditions, the Rural Electrification Administration (REA) was born. Of the several New Deal programs put into action within the Uinta Basin, none had a greater impact or a longer lasting effect than the REA. Created in 1935, the REA used Work Projects Administration labor and Reconstruction Finance Corporation loans and grants to rural cooperatives to extend electricity into areas of rural America that were too small and widely scattered for profitable service by private companies. After a failed attempt by private corporations to limit the growth of REA projects in 1936, the Administration was made permanent under the Department of Agriculture in 1939. The REA proved to be effective in providing inexpensive electricity to the isolated farms starting in the upper country around Altamont and rapidly spreading to other portions of rural Uinta Basin. Today the most remote farmstead in the region has electricity. …
“There was, prior to the formation of the REA and Moon Lake Electric, electrical service delivered in some parts of the Uinta Basin. A small company, the Vernal Milling and Light Company, which was built in 1908, first brought power to Vernal City residents. This company supplied Vernal until 1925, when Utah Power and Light (UP&L) bought them out and extended service to the nearby communities of Davis, Maeser, and Naples. Utah Power and Light was organized in 1912 as a sub- sidiary of a large holding company, Electric Bond and Share Company (EBASCO) of New York. Within four years of its organization, UP&L had purchased twenty- seven other electric companies in the general Utah area, and over the next years eventually absorbed more than 130 utility companies including the Vernal Milling and Light Company. The Uintah Power and Light Company (UPALCO) provided the first electric service in Duchesne County, supplying Roosevelt, Myton, Duchesne, and the few residents of Lake Fork. This small private company was founded in 1910, and a power plant was built on the Lake Fork River in the small community that was then called Lake Fork. After completion of the power plant, the area was renamed Upalco, the name it still bears, after the initials of the name of the company Uintah Power and Light Company. Equipment for the UPALCO plant was purchased from the Vernal Milling and Light Company and consisted of two belt-driven 60 kilo-watts generators and two reaction waterwheels. Water to drive the wheels was obtained from the Lake Fork River, where it was diverted into a thirty-inch wooden stave pipeline. Power lines were brought from Upalco to Roosevelt and Myton, and were first connected on July 15, 1914, with forty consumers receiving service. …
“In 1937 Shirley K. Daniels of Mt. Emmons was in Roosevelt working on a wind gen- erator, and during a lunch break at a local café, he heard President Roosevelt’s radio message about the government’s appropriation of funds to construct power lines in rural areas. He wrote to the Rural Electrification Administration offices in Washington, DC, to find out how he and his neighbors could get power. Plunging ahead, Daniels, along with Chester Hartman, Edward Holder, and Edward Conklin, formulated a plan to organize a cooperative. They held their first meeting on January 11, 1938, and with the assistance of George Stewart, a young attorney from Roosevelt, and Zella Rust (Ben- nion) as bookkeeper, and following Utah State Statutes, they formed the necessary non- profit corporation. Formation of a nonprofit corporation was the necessary first step prior to forming an REA cooperative. …
“The Moon Lake Electric Association (MLEA) was incorporated on October 6, 1938. The first Board of Directors elected upon the formation of the Corporation included S. K. Daniels of Mt. Emmons, Henry A. Wathen of Bluebell, Ed Conklin of Altonah, Chester Hartman of Mt. Emmons, F. C. Watterson of Altonah, John Thorsen of Blue- bell, and Delbert Shiner of Altonah. For the first months, they received no compens- ation for their time or travel, and often used their own money to cover expenses. For example, Chester Hartman loaned Moon Lake operating money totaling one hundred dollars for ninety days in November 1938. The next year Board of Directors’ fees were set at six dollars per meeting and five cents per mile traveled.”
(John D. Barton, History of Moon Lake Electric 1938 - 2013, A Remarkable Past and a Bright Future, pgs. 13-25)
Moon Lake Electric has blossomed in the intervening seven (almost eight) decades. They have almost 100 employees and 20,000 members of the cooperative (aka: customers) from Rangely, Colorado, through both Uintah County and Duchesne County, Utah; from Altamont to Ouray and they have secured their service area with a 1992 agreement with Utah Power and Light.
Starting out in the Post-Depression Era and through tough-times right up into the 21stCentury. Moon Lake Electric (MLEC) has an historic and remarkable past. MLEC has as a bright and beautiful future, as does Utah.
Utah’s Electrical Infastructure is working and in great shape, but one thing which would improve it is opening it up to more of a free-market experience rather than the monopoly experience. Moon Lake Electric began as a cooperative enterprise and has a good grasp on its customer base, after 75+ years. It holds the advantage of being set up by a governmental agency (REA) and only has to put up with Utah Power and Light areas which have been established in a process allowing the larger utility to pick and choose the best and most profitable areas to maximize UP&L profits. Leaving the less attractive areas for Moon Lake.
The above illustrates one of the problems with the monopoly system. The Public Utility Commission (PUC) is necessary to keep the rate structure ‘affordable’ and in control, otherwise Utah would already be paying the same as California utility customers pay … which is what the owners of UP&L have admitted is their goal.
State government’s aim should be protecting the citizens of the state they govern. What can be done to protect Utah utility customers from excessive utility rate hikes. Review what the State Legislature and the Utility Monopolies tried to do with HB320 back in the 2000 General Session but accomplished in 2009 with SB187, just nine years later (the story can be read in the GOP Harm issue paper). Read through that and see if our state is being protected by the State Government or not!
MORE NATURAL GAS AND ELECTRIC RECHARGE STATIONS
More and more alternate fuel cars and trucks are hitting the roads each year. Right now they are restricted to the Wasatch Front, primarily, due to a lack of recharge stations across the state. To attract tourists to the beauty and natural wonders of the state, we need to be ready to refill all kinds of these vehicles from St. George and the Big 5 National Parks (Zions, Canyonlands, Bryce, Arches, Capitol Reef) on both sides of the States, to the Uintah Mountains, Wasatch Mountains, to ski resorts, state parks, our rivers and lakes ... the list goes on.
AIRPORTS (SLC, Provo, St. George, Logan, Ogden & rural airports)
In our world today, airports are a necessary form of transportation (for both passenger and freight). They generate income for some entities, but mostly they are an necessary expense for counties and cities. They get expensive, with constant improvements and enhancements.
BUT, is the expansion of the SL International Airport & repair of St. George worth the expense? We would say YES! This is the conduit which brings millions of tourists and visitors to our State each year (Ski season, summer season, fall and spring for General Conference, etc.). The economic boon of those millions of visitors is apparent, and worth investment by the State in this entity.
However, local airports are often almost forgotten by residents, but not the County Commis-sioners or town mayors. Fixed Base Operators of the city / county airports is an on-going expense. They get some gas tax from aviation fuel sales, but the ability of getting critical residents to better medical care via medical flights can be crucial and necessary. Convience of residents getting in and out of the area, via commuter airlines or their own private planes, is also part of the picture, too.
Community Airports, such as St. George, Logan and Ogden are extremely useful ... but they also provide a hazard. Perhaps more safety measures are need in the surrounding neighborhoods and areas under the flight paths.
Hill AFB is a special place for this candidate, since I am a veteran of the Air Force, I feel a kinship with the airmen and officers there. It is also a vital part of the National Defense and Military establishment.
Utahns have always been patriotic and enlist/join the military in amazing numbers. We need Hill AFB to remain strong and supported by ALL elected officials. We have already lost the Tooele Army Depot, Dugway Proving Grounds, and other active-duty military sites. Hill cannot be lost!!
Political support is necessary, but public support is also vital to keeping the mission and strength of Hill AFB up and running at peak efficiency and strength. We as a team fully support Hill AFB and our military arm - both our National Guard, State Milita, full-time and part-time Reservists, etc.
We also support and appreciate our Veteran population. WE seek to support Veterans Homes and our Veterans cemeteries throughout the state. We have a long history of supporting our military in this state and we share that history and commitment.
This is another 'bright' idea of our 'Red Coat' (GOP) Legislature; buying swamp land for millions of tax-payer dollars and foisting a multi-million dollar construction project for a new prison in that swamp.
It is interesting that a huge plot of land was available for a few dollars (far from even one million dollars) in Tooele County - a county hurting economically - from the Federal Government (Tooele Army Depot) closure and other factors. Did our State Government reach out to them, afterall they are SO-o-o very far away (a whole 30 miles)? WHY NOT!! So much for really helping rural Utah!
Having a Centralized Prison in SL Valley was only ONE of the ideas available NOT the only idea! HOW ABOUT regionalizing prisons across the state - we already have one in Gunnison, which is being expanded and working well. If smaller prisons were in St. George area, the Uintah Basin, over in Green River and perhaps in Tremonton ... the counseling services and rehab services would be spread out over the state, providing better and CLOSER access to services and for families to connect with family members incarcerated. Compassion is worthy of Government, too!
DRAPER PROPERTY DEVELOPMENT
After the prison is relocated (to the literal swamp) the state already has plans for development of the Draper Property. One of the leads on this deal is a former Speaker of the House (of Mansell & Associates - now a real estate developer ... no conflict, right? OR no 'sweet deals' for a former associate, either ... right?) IF that doesn't 'taint' this process, ... !!
Granted, the high dollar plans for high tech development will likely be a potential benefit to the State ... but it will definately 'benefit' the developers. What will be interesting will be how much the State is paid for this development!! THAT we will see in the coming year or so AND We Will Be Watching!!
Our 'beloved' INLAND PORT
This Inland Port, 379-miles from the coast, is a tained and stained concept if nothing more than coming out (thanks Sen. Stuart Adams!) after the 2016 Red Coat attempt to illegally use Utah Mineral Severance Tax funds to pay for a Coal Port in Oakland, CA!! Remember?
Then these same ethically challenged 'geniuses' decided to put an Inland Port closer to the Rocky Mountains than any major tributary or ocean (The Great Salt Lake doesn't count because it is a closed and dead system! Just like this idea should be!!)
Ask Lewiston, Idaho, how their Inland Port is doing ... how many millions it is costing and how far into the Red they are each year now??
Recently, the number of big-rigs going in and out of our very own "Port" has been planned, by their own documentation, to be 1.5 million a day!! And this is why tucking is now allowed on the Legacy Highway (!!) IS THIS suppose to be environmentally sensitive?
And the cost of the Inland Port has already reached $2.4 Billion in just the last four years. In addition, SB268, from the 2019 General Session, allowed the Inland Port to get a loan from UDOT for $5million for road construction, design, engineering on the property.
Remember the 2018 Proposition to provide increased funding for schools? The new money would go into the General Fund, right? The monies will likely go to schools for a couple of years but thereafter, I guarantee, it will be siphoned to the Inland Port!! Mark my words (unless an Independent Governor comes in and changes that little situation) !!
NOTE: This "Port" could have be dissolved at anytime PRIOR to their bonding for funds - according to the enabling legislation. BUT IT IS TOO LATE NOW ... in the already approved FY2020 Budget the Inland Port is authorized to bond for $5 million. Now we have to really work to stop this Bushwah!!
If any of this makes sense to you, if you see a need for a CHANGE …
VOTE GREG DUERDEN & Wayne Hill for an INDEPENDENT Governor/ Lt. Governor ticket … by Nov. 3, 2020
They are ‘Duers’ who will get more good things DONE in the Constitutionally Correct Way!
Crowd of people wanting a better way, a constitutional proper solution to the issues of government.