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Transportation problems are solvable

From North Salt Lake to South Weber, 15 communities in Davis County are working harder to discuss common goals and address issues that concern all of us. In addition, Davis County officials and the Davis Chamber of Commerce are working hand-in-hand with colleagues from the Salt Lake Area and the Ogden-Weber Chambers of Commerce on issues that are common to all of us.

Our mission includes all efforts that will enhance the quality of life in Davis County. One of the key components to quality of life is the ability to travel safely and, for the most part, easily. Davis County, which provides a huge number of educated and dedicated employees to companies in the Salt Lake area, suffers from an extreme lack of transportation alternatives.

Our neighbors to the north, Weber County, joined us and voters in Salt Lake County in approving a one-quarter percent sales tax increase to fund additional modes of transportation. We do support commuter rail, light rail, expanded bus service and the Legacy Parkway from Farmington to the extreme northern end of Salt Lake City.

Transit alone will not handle all of the projected future demand; many people still must drive their cars to make a living. Many goods and services still must make their way throughout Davis County in cars and trucks; transit will not address that critical need. Air quality will benefit from traffic that is not idling and proceeding at speeds less than 15 mph. Cars are cleaner, too. A 2000 model year automobile produces 90 percent fewer emissions than a car made in 1970. Cleaner cars moving at a reasonable speed, coupled with more citizens enjoying commuter rail, light rail and bus service, will make a big difference in Davis County.

For many years, dedicated business leaders in Davis County have volunteered their time and expertise to develop outstanding transportation plans. These plans include all of the modes listed above. The Legacy Parkway has been in a planning and public input mode for the past six years. The residents and business owners of Davis County, and those who must commute through the area, have spoken. This planned highway will bring more wetlands protection to the areas abutting the Great Salt Lake than will "regular" development throughout the area.

A recent editorial arguing against the Legacy Parkway states that "the interest of Salt Lake City have been repeatedly overlooked." This assertion strains credibility given the benefits conferred upon Salt Lake residents and businesses by I-15, I-215, the Bangerter Highway, Redwood Road, 700 East, TRAX and other transportation systems.

We appeal to all fair-minded citizens to join with us in this regional economy from several miles north of Salt Lake City to several miles south. A large percentage of "daytime residents" (employees) of the greater Salt Lake area travel from Weber and Davis counties to enhance the productivity and success of the firms located there. Let's make it easier for these valuable human resources to arrive for work safely, on time and in a highly productive frame of mind because their commutes were not dangerous nor a "hassle."

In summary, let's reiterate some key points. (1) We all must develop a strong partnership to succeed in these exciting and demanding times; (2) Growth will continue at a rapid pace, and we must deal with it — short and long term; and (3) The leaders of the county just north of Salt Lake know what they need, and they have spoken.

Please keep in mind the positive efforts that Davis County leaders expended to support the construction of light rail to the University of Utah. This is simply another example of how we want strong partnerships to work.

Gary Birdsall and Chris Dallin serve on the board of directors of the Davis Chamber of Commerce.