Given that you were originally started as an anti-Mormon newspaper (you were referred to as "The Godbeite Rag" in my house, growing up), I have never spent much time on you. But lately, I keep seeing headlines on your front page (one of your boxes is next to the 39 stop I frequently patronize) that talk, sort of, about transit. And they confuse me.
I was under the understanding that you are the more liberal of the two major newspapers in the Wasatch Front. You certainly seem to bill yourself that way. So why do you hate UTA so much?
When I searched desnews.com for stories about transit, the most recent story that came up was dated June 4th. It was about a safety exercise on the new Draper Line. There was also an article about a man who got hit by a FrontRunner train, one about how the new Airport line was "packed" with passengers, and one about how the LDS Church is using transit to move its missionaries around. Okay.
When I searched sltrib.com, I found stories from
some of which have innocuous enough titles, but contain quotes like
(this in complete lack of acknowledgement of UTA's rebuttal), or
I find it distinctly odd that what the Tribune clearly considers a national crisis doesn't even make it into the Deseret News. Could it be that you are blowing things a little out of proportion?
Consider the cost of John Inglish's pension on transit service. A Gillig transit 40-foot bus runs about $400,000 these days (though some transit buses cost as much as $600,000, but we'll stick with the first number for now). That means that UTA could buy another Gillig once every two years with John Inglish's pension.
(Last year, UTA bought 40 buses; in 2011 they bought 30, as well as various Paratransit buses, whose numbers I honestly don't keep track of very well)
But wait. That's not including the cost to OPERATE the bus, of which 70% or more may be the cost to pay the driver. Assuming that once we have bought this extra bus, we want to run it; and that the cost to run it is $124/hr, we can get 1,613 hours out of that bus per year for our $200K. Divided by 260 weekdays per year, that's 6 hours per weekday. At that rate, it would take about
to put the 203 back in service on weekdays for a year. Then we'd have to wait 4 years to be able to do it again. That's not counting the 207, 236, 327, 335, 348, 356, 389, 801, 802, 803, 804, 805, 806, 807, 810, and 817; as well as the night service cut on routes 6, 21, 39, 45, 54, 200, 205, 228, 240, 516, 519, 604, 625, 645, 811, 831, 832, and 850; and the Saturday service cut on routes 9, 11, 17, 223, 227, 228, 232, 236, 248, 472, 520, and 613; and the Sunday service cut on routes 6, 39, 45, 72, 240, and 604; as well as numerous other individual trip cuts on almost every route ever.
Clearly, getting rid of John Inglish's pension would solve everyone's problems instantly. Sales tax has nothing to do with it. Sorry for the math.
Your continued harping on the alleged corruption and hoodwinking of the public by evil UTA officials can only stem from either an honest misunderstanding of the situation (hopefully I've been able to shed some light on the subject) or an attempt to attract attention from the small but devoted crowd who hates UTA by continuously slandering them in print. If it's the first, please get educated. If it's the second, grow up. Your attempts to stamp out the evils of UTA will at best prove ineffective and at worst will derail (pun intended) one of the best transit systems in the country.