UTA may spend up to $50 million to become ‘Transit District Utah’ — but not right away

SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Transit Authority may still have to change its name to “Transit District Utah,” but it won’t likely do it anytime soon.

At its monthly meeting on Wednesday, UTA’s Board of Trustees was briefed about Senate Bill 136, which eliminates the board in favor of a full-time, three member commission appointed by the governor and confirmed by the Senate. It also kicks millions more to transit. But the provision that’s generated the most talk is a line that demands UTA change its name to “TDU.”

UTA board member Babs De Lay said it’s the bit she’s heard the most complaints about. Vice-Chair Sherrie Hall Everett said she did not agree with that provision of the new law — as well as one that turns over UTA’s legal representation to the Utah Attorney General’s Office.

UTA has said it could cost as much as $50 million to re-brand buses, trains and buildings, as well as minor things like stationary and contracts. Governor Gary Herbert, who signed SB136 into law, said he’s not a fan of the name change.

Still, UTA CEO Jerry Benson told FOX 13 on Wednesday they were told by the Utah State Legislature to change their name. However, he said there was no deadline and acknowledged lawmakers did not fund it — so it’s not necessarily a top priority.

“What we are planning to do is take a little bit of time to understand how we can implement a name change in a way that both makes the system easier to understand and navigate for customers and also saves the taxpayer as much money as possible in implementing that change,” he said. “That’s going to take some time for us to do.”