Geographic representation ought to be considered when Salt Lake County fills vacancies on the Utah Transit Authority board, according to Commission Chairman Jim Bradley.
"It's something we should talk about," Bradley suggested at a meeting of the County Council of Governments, reminding his fellow commissioners and the county's mayors that three vacancies will be filled later this summer.With the unanimous concurrence of the local elected officials, the proposal was placed on the council's July agenda. Several mayors have been complaining for years that the UTA board has not fairly represented the interests of west-side and southwest county communities.
Meanwhile, former state Rep. Samuel S. Taylor, has formally applied for one of the UTA spots. Appearing before the County Commission, Taylor said he could make a significant difference on the UTA board.
According to Taylor, ridership on UTA buses has been poor - 1.5 passengers per mile - because of poor UTA management. "Private transit went out of business at six passengers per mile," he said.
UTA had revenues of $617.3 million from 1975 through 1991, with fares accounting for a "mere" 8.5 percent the total, Taylor said. Without its tax subsidies, UTA would have to increase ridership 300 percent or go out of business, he added.
"Under present policies, it will never happen, not even 10 percent," Taylor told commissioners. What is needed, he said, is a plan to discourage the use of automobiles and the inclusion of community groups and businesses in the formulation of a transportation policy.
"I offer the County Commission and the taxpayers my dedicated services," Taylor said. "I have the experience, the knowledge, the creativeness and the affinity for the taxpayers' best interests to warrant one of the three available appointments. I deserve it."
Commissioners told Taylor that he is a candidate for one of the UTA vacancies and said he would be interviewed for the job.