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UTA IGNORING RIGHTS OF THE PEOPLE

I am a member of the Utah Transit Authority board of directors and am writing as a private citizen representing the people of Salt Lake County.

Apparently, Secretary of Transportation Federico Pena was showing no obligation to cut down the federal deficit when he announced, while surrounded by Utah officials at a press conference, that Salt Lake City would be granted a whopping $241 million (80 percent of the cost) to build a political boondoggle known as the light rail for the 2002 Winter Olympics, which is a 17-day binge.In 1992, the people of Salt Lake County voted against a one-quarter percent increase in the sales tax to fund: bus expansion, a light-rail system and improvements on I-15. The light-rail system was the major expense (the vote was 57 percent against and 43 percent for). There are alternatives to light rail: bus transit ways, high-occupancy vehicle lanes, flexible working hours, one-way rush-hour streets, more local and express buses, car pooling, coordinating school and public transportation, privatizing bus service, among others.

The civil rights and dignity of the people are being ignored because their wishes are being denied. As a former 16-year legislator known as "Mass Transit Sam" because of my pursuit of and interest in mass transit, I have been pressing for another vote of the people before any further action is taken.

Samuel S. Taylor

Salt Lake City