We must dramatically reduce Utah’s carbon emissions to appropriate levels and ensure our air quality meets safety standards. Here is the plan to do so:
We must expand our options for people to work from home. If 2020 has taught us anything it’s that people do not need to drive into the office everyday. We need an initiative to move thousands of jobs from the corporate office to the home office. That means that people will drive less, decreasing both pollution and traffic. The County Mayor needs to lead this effort.
By the end of my first term, a majority of all eligible county employees will telework.
We will also put in a “red air telework” program to ensure that as our inversions build toward red air, we will do our part to take cars off the road.
Salt Lake County has many cars and other vehicles in its official fleet. There is no reason that any of these vehicles should be contributing to Utah’s air pollution. As Mayor, I will ensure that every county owned vehicle operates on at least Tier 3 gasoline. Through natural attrition of vehicles, this proposal has no impact on the county budget, does not increase costs, and helps us move toward a more sustainable county in a fiscally responsible way. When we pair these newer vehicles with the Tier 3 fuels that are being produced right here in Utah, it helps clean our air.
As the budget dictates, and through attrition, I will work to move our county passenger/sedan vehicles to electric.
Energy Efficient Buildings
County owned buildings must be renovated to become energy efficient. Right now, the county does not even know how many buildings they own. We need an effort to find, categorize, and inventory all county buildings to make sure that they are not major polluters in our state.
Once we understand our inventory, I will do a top to bottom audit of our efficiencies, find ways for us to save emissions, which will also help save the taxpayers money.
Transit & Public Transportation
Convenience is the biggest hurdle to increasing ridership in public transportation. It is imperative that we make public transportation accessible to everyone in the county. This means increased bus routes, additional options, and looking at new models in public transportation. This proposal can have minimal costs but will significantly increase ridership on public transportation.
The recent Olympia Hills development in Southwest Salt Lake County is projected to put an additional 60,000 cars on the road daily. That is 21 million new car trips per year. This development was pushed through with no plan for infrastructure, public transportation, or other transit options. It didn’t even assess impact fees on the developers to pay for those things. We cannot claim to be serious about improving air quality when we choose the interests of developers over the health of our residents. Development is good, but we must do it in the right way.
I will be a pro-growth mayor, but I will make sure that we grow in the right way so that we decrease traffic, improve air quality, make our cities more livable, and maintain quality of life for all of our residents.
In addition to the above solutions we must craft a metrics based plan to reduce carbon emissions that we are unified behind and that we hold ourselves accountable to year after year. We must also identify cutting edge clean technologies that we can bring to Utah to ensure that our air quality becomes the best in the nation.
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