Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Utah Legislature may pass an air quality bill that actually makes a difference

Dislikes the Prius, but loves the bus
Good news out of the Utah legislature! Reps Johnny Anderson and Joel Briscoe are sponsoring a bill that would let local municipalities raise funding for public transportation. HB388, dubbed a “quarter for clean air,” would make it possible for SLC to put an increase in transit funding on the ballot, whereas before UTA funding had to be authorized by the state itself. A recent Salt Lake Tribune editorial by the two house sponsors and SLC Mayor Ralph Becker noted that a quarter percent hike in the sales tax (which this bill would allow) is estimated to increase UTA ridership by 53% and take 50,000 vehicles off the road each day.

The great news is that this just passed out of the Utah House by a 58-10 margin and now moves on to the Senate. The legislature wraps up its business for the year this week, so if you’re looking to get involved (even just via Twitter), now may be the time to do it.

This bill is truly something to be happy about!

If interested, your local officials can be found here and their Twitter handle (if any) can be found here.

Rep Johnny Anderson (bill sponsor) can be reached at

Rep Joel Briscoe (bill co-sponsor) can be reached at and @RepBriscoe

Senator Jerry Stevenson (floor sponsor) can be reached at and @Sen_Stevenson

Note: The odd part about this is that Johnny Anderson is also sponsoring legislation (SB139) that raises registration fees on hybrids, natural gas, and electric vehicles. Trib article here. Recent status is the following, but I don't know the language of the legislature enough to interpret. Anyone?

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