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LIGHT-RAIL BASHING LACKS LOGIC

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I am perplexed by the fervent opposition to a light rail system, which has been characterized as somewhere between a new-world-order conspiracy and the death knoll of the American West. I must have missed something because the arguments presented against light rail seem so illogical that I have to wonder about the motive and intelligence of the opposers. Here are 10 samples of what I'm hearing along with my dumb questions in response:

1. It won't go far enough.How far will it go if we never start it?

2. We already voted against it.

Wasn't the vote actually against a tax increase that was to go to buy buses (62 percent), fix the freeways (25 percent) and start light rail (13 percent)? Does that mean no new buses and no freeway improvements?

3. UTA didn't get our permission and ignored the voters' mandate.

Isn't UTA's mandate to move people? Did any of us vote on the last bus that was bought?

4. The citizens of the valley don't need or want light rail.

What were those Transplan 2000 meetings we attended as citizen representatives from all over the valley, and why did we strongly recommend light rail as an essential piece of the solution?

5. I don't like to ride the bus or the train.

Who cares? As long as those who want to ride do so, won't we all benefit? Won't it convert an underused right-of-way into the equivalent of two lanes on the freeway and make more room for cars?

6. Light rail won't come near our house anyway.

Isn't light rail the only way we are going to get sufficient east-west service to make public transportation viable? How else are we ever going to get a bus from east Sandy to South Towne Mall?

7. Light rail won't break even financially, and we don't want any dirty federal money.

When was the last time a freeway paid for itself?

8. It's not cost-effective.

Am I still missing something? Let's see, under $300 million to build light rail in three years or over $300 million to redo the I-80 interchange alone so that in 10 years we can add two lanes to I-15 at a total cost of $1.2 billion, at which time we still won't have money to add buses from east Sandy to the South Towne Mall.

9. We will have to wait for the train to go by.

How long does it take a two-car train to go by? How long are the traffic lights at the other cross streets?

10. It will attract gangs.

Isn't it easier to swat flies when they all land in the same place?

Jerry Hirst

Sandy