UTA responds after Proposition 1 fails in Utah’s two most-populated counties

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UTAH -- On Election Day, 10 of 17 Utah counties voted in favor of Proposition One. However, the state's two most-populated counties voted against it, and it is believed UTA is a big reason why.

“The opponents to Proposition One decided that they were going to make UTA the reason people should vote no,” said Jerry Benson, UTA Interim President and CEO.

Benson said it’s unfair opponents of Proposition One made their organization such a focal point during this campaign.

“I think it’s unfortunate that you would seek to distract people from what the real issue is, ‘Is this in the best interest for me, my family, my neighborhood, my community or not?’” Benson said.

Proposition One will cost the average resident an additional $40 a year in sales tax. That money will go toward transportation improvements. Out of the 10 counties that voted for it, three of them--Weber, Davis and Tooele--have UTA services, which mean they will be giving 40 percent of those tax dollars to UTA.

“It will be clear to everyone the dollars that came in and where they went," Benson said.

The two largest counties in the state, Salt Lake and Utah, voted against Prop One. Americans For Prosperity in Utah say it’s because they don’t trust UTA.

”We’ve seen audit after audit come out where there’s always been some sort of problem with transparency and accountability, and I think if you talk to voters that was really the Achilles Heel for Prop 1 that made them decide to vote against it,” said Evelyn Everton of Americans For Prosperity in Utah.

“Our board of trustees has acted in a very timely and assertive way to address those things,” Benson said of those issues.

Opponents say if UTA really has changed, then they need to prove it to the public before voters in our most populated counties just hand over more money.

”Certainly we would challenge the residents of those counties to hold their governments accountable to this money and make sure that these projects that they say are going to be built are done and that UTA does the things they’ve said that they would do in those counties,” Everton said.

Salt Lake County’s vote against Prop One has yet to be considered official, as they are still tallying votes.

As for UTA, they say they’ve already made plans for exactly where this Prop One money will go, and that’s expanding bus services, which includes nights and weekends.

23 comments

  • Utah Red

    My property taxes had already gone up. I’m not about to vote to tax myself more just because you want to build bicycle trails and expand UTA, both of which I will never use. I already pay a ton of tax for a gallon of gas. Use that to fix the roads.

    • Nathan tucker

      Exactly 40 Dollars for this tax. Plus new metro tax (it will go up) Utilities are going up. Other taxes going up. Gas tax coming soon. Insurance is going up both car and health. So far this year (hard to judge because of the gas tax) for us it is going to be around 500 dollars a year. People voted this in. Keep on doing it. Lets see how long we last as a people. I am about to give up!, Because I recognize I am turning a slave just to keep the government open. Well at least I will be able to ride the bus down to the soup line and bring home cheese and bread.

    • mike

      The problem with this tax is, if there are no projects in your area, the money is used somewhere else. You could be living in one county and your money pays for a project in another. UTA gets more than enough money already. They give there top people huge amounts of money in bonuses.

  • YerAvgVoterIsStoooooooooopit

    Only idiots vote for tax increases. Because the average idiot can’t do basic math, they can’t see that eventually lawmakers will run out of tax increases before americans have no money left. You can always boil a frog with incremental temperature increases. Incremental tax increases “boil the frog”. It’s un-gd-believable people actually vote for tax increases.

  • FRANK

    Us folks in Davis County are not very bright. We give our hard earned money to anyone. We don’t care about accountability. We just hope that they get enough for big raises and of course, bike trails! Our streets are like cow trails and the only repair is “cheapopatch”.

  • UtahCountyFearMachine

    It’s too bad that so many people voted against this proposition out of fear. We can’t build economically unsustainable infrastructure (the cost of roads and utilities far outweighing the property values that surround them), vote down tax increases designed to support said economically inviable infrastructure, and then complain that the roads are falling apart. It’s like buying a Ferrari, getting into tons of debt for it, and then refusing to make payments or change the oil because it’s too expensive. But then acting like Ferraris are an American right.

    The trouble with our roads is that we’ve worn them out but haven’t paid them off yet. But instead of building financially reasonable developments, we demand the equivalent of another Ferrari. For free. If you choose to live expensively, it’s going to be expensive. This isn’t rocket science folks.

    • Ken

      Who chose to live expensively genius? It wasn’t the people that voted the tax down, It was the government who keeps taking more and more. The analogy you gave can be applied to the government. They screwed up in buying a Ferrari so now they need us all to pay for it.

    • Nathan tucker

      You are the first person I met that is for taxes. Are you in government, Because no one in their right mind would be for taxes. I earn that money, the government just takes it. Not only dose it take it from one place. It takes it from everywhere. Where is the money that they already take? You don’t know, No one dose. You say we complain about roads. Heck yes we do, Because they should have Billions yes with a B to spend on roads. They obviously aren’t So where is the money they have already taken from you and me?

      Just how many taxes do we need to pay for (1 thing) roads, Which they should already be in the surplus for? We have Gas Tax, We have the new Gas tax. We Pay to register our car to drive on said roads, All that money is supposed to go for roads. Not to mention Federal taxes that are taken out of our checks to pay for Interstate roads. I just mentioned 3 different taxes here. Not to mention local property tax that is supposed to pay for local roads. Utah state tax. A portion of that is said to be used for roads? Where is all the money? So now how many taxes are justified for one thing we use? I am all for money going for roads. But it’s not. They are ripping the people off.

  • Barbara Blackburn

    Every one has an agenda, and the powers that be seem to think the tax payer can keep paying. Personally, I voted against it because taxes and everything else is getting out of control. I pay more in house taxes now I am a senior than we did when our kids were all home. Our principle, interest, and mortgage insurance was less on a yearly basis than my taxes alone are now. Enough is enough! I wonder if those over us realize their costs rise also. Perhaps their income is sufficient enough it doesn’t matter to them. A dolllar here and a dollar there reaches a point we the people don’t have more dollars.

    Like others have said. ” I don’t use most of the things my taxes go for “. I don’t have children in school, I don’t ride a bike, I don’t use public transportation, recreation centers, trails, and the list goes on. I realize there are those who do and that is fine. We should help provide in order to serve NEEDS. BUT……..enough is enough!!!

    There is much to be desired to conserve our dollars. I have to live within my means. It is about time our money is conserved on a community, state and national level. I witness alot of waste just because some don’t think a project through, and figure it can be done over.Young people who do not work, welfare that is out of control, people who feel entitled, all need to pull their heads out of the sand and realize we who do, or have contributed are about dried up.

  • 8ch

    If UTA can decrease their spending waste and show more effeciency with their funds and budget they might get more people to relax. Right now it just feels like 40% of my $40 will go to someone’s end of year bonus which exceeds many peoples annual salary. No thanks. I am much more careful and accountable with my dollars than UTA is with theirs.

    • EastCoastTransplant

      Dont’ forget the 3 week “research trip” to Europe and the Million dollar parking garage that was paid for and never built… The UTA doesn’t cater to the people that need their service the most. They have also helped Lyft and Uber thrive in SLC because after 11pm, before 6am, Sunday & Holidays you can get their service from them unlike UTA. You want me to fork over more of my money, start showing me that you are not wasting it and start actually providing service that people need.

    • Nathan tucker

      Ever since our local government got voted in on the last election. All they have done is raise every tax possible, They have given the OK for Utility companies to increase their rates. Now is not the time to complain after the fact that the uniformed people have made the decision. We need to be more out spoken to our friends our naibors, who ever before we vote. After the fact dose not matter. I sure hope everyone remembers the last 3 years of Utah. All they have done is vote in Tax after Tax after Tax. How much you want to make a bet. They all get voted in again, all because people are afraid to talk politics.

  • Craig Smith

    The counties that rejected Prop 1 expect UTA to prove they have changed their ways. Once voters have been reassured any monies collected in new taxes will be spent appropriately, the initiative can be placed on the ballot again. My guess is the initiative would have passed had UTA not been a recipient of any funds from this tax.

  • BETHANN ANDERSON

    The real issue is UTA that is why I voted against it. The cost is too high for monthly passes and their management make too much money for a public transit. Not in the best interest so do not say we are just avoiding other issues because the issue is UTA IF UTA was not involved I would have voted for it

  • Travis

    40 dollars extra in taxes? I have no car, but I do not use UTA services. The fact you have to pay 5 dollars just to ride the bus to and from work is horrible. You want to tax people more money, when they barely have enough money to use your services to get where they need to go. You have no services on Sunday, your bus drivers are constantly late, and no one ever gets an apology. I say give them no taxes, and make them take the money out of their CEO’s pockets to fund the expansion of UTA.

  • Chadbag

    If they want more money for transportation, then they need to cut somewhere else. Just like families, that need to cut from one place to spend extra in another, government needs to live within its means.

  • Steve

    As an auto repair business owner in Utah County i have been inundated with new taxes over the last few years. It seems that even though the economy has been sluggish, especially in the last four or five years, that doesn’t seem to mean anything to the State. The property taxes on my home and my business both increased by 10% this year alone, not because they raised the property tax but because they reassessed my property to be worth more. Curious! I also now pay a tax for every quart or gallon of oil I sell as well as an additional tax for every tire I sell. Where are all the new vehicle related tax dollars going if not to support the roads and the public transportation? If the public transportation is costing more it makes sense that it is because more people are using it. We just passed 3,000,000 residents in Utah. As the tax base gets larger, that is an automatic tax increase for any city that is growing. If the city is not growing then they have other problems. The government should be required to live within their means just like we have to, and expand at the request of the people not the politicians or big business.

  • Andrew

    I am a bicycle rider and would like better infrastructure and dedication to it. If putting it in a bus because I don’t want to ride up a hill is a reason to ride, then I need to adjust it on my own. Other countries have lifts for hills and such. Even an enclosed bike path with some kind of heating would be nice and not connected to any road with cars. But I also do not think it should be free. Time to register bikes. That would pay for it. That way people who don’t ride are not obligated. Five bucks a bike per year is not going to kill anyone if it gets reinvested into the Dedicated infrastructure.

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