UTA pass giveaway suggests more can be done

For those hoping to take advantage of UTA’s July pass giveaway, you’re too late. Those 2500 week-long passes were gone after just 26 hours.

If the UTA giveaway sounds familiar, that’s because a similar program was initially proposed by House Democrats back in February after the Salt Lake Valley had gone through a string of red air days. State Representative Joel Briscoe proposed that UTA offer free passes during the months of January and July–the worst months in the year for Utah air. He didn’t get two months worth, but 2500 week-long passes could be a promising start.

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What does it mean to have 2500 cars off the road for one week? The average car emits about 215 pounds of carbon dioxide a week. If my admittedly questionable math skills are correct, that’s the equivalent of nearly 550,000 pounds of carbon dioxide that won’t be polluting our air. Just a dent, perhaps, but we have to start somewhere.

It remains to be seen how many of those week-long passes will be used, but how quickly the passes were picked up suggests a more comprehensive approach is in order. Utahns want greater access to public transportation–greater access that could also have a significant impact on our air problems.

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