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On Transit, Park City Council Member Thinks They Get No Respect From County

Tim Henney

The Dec. 17th meeting of the Joint Transit Advisory Board focused on Summit County and Park City setting a vision for transit and transportation in the area.

But one City Council member says it sounds to him like the county’s vision has little confidence in the city as a partner.  

Park City Council Member Tim Henney said the city and the county should be working together on common goals.   But instead, he noted, the county is caught up in the mechanics and planning to get a federal grant for a possible Bus Rapid Transit system along 224.    

“We all share the same goal.   We want a BRT that works effectively, efficiently and serves the most number of people in the best way possible.  And yet—I’m sorta going so why isn’t there a high level of trust that we’re all working towards that, as opposed to having a NEPA process drive, putting a pin somewhere, so that we can proceed with the process the way the process determines.  We’re letting a funding NEPA process put pins in things, when we should all trust each other to say, “You know what?  We’re gonna put together the best system possible.  And I don’t hear that trust from the county.”

Henney said he listened in to the recent Visioning session held by county officials.    He said some of those participants said directly they don’t have any trust in the competence of Park City Transit.  

“What I—what you’re visioning in your public Visioning numerous times, about whether Park City is the appropriate partner—or whether it should be Mida, or whether it should be UTA, or whether it should be Wasatch County, or whether it should be any number of other people.   And competency was the term that was used repeatedly.  So I sense a lack of trust on the part of the county to work towards shared goals for the best possible outcome.”

Henney also said the county could be working to improve transit in areas like Jeremy Ranch and Pinebrook, but instead is focused on the other end of their service area, at Bonanza Park.

County Council Members Kim Carson and Doug Clyde said the Visioning meeting was about their goals 20 years out, and working with partners in the Wasatch Back.

And while they now have an interlocal transit agreement with Park City, they had discussed whether that governmental model would be capable of dealing with transit in the future.

Carson asked what should happen to the city-county partnership.   She said a joint Council meeting is coming up.       

“We’re looking forward to February 5th.  But if you’re saying, “You know what?  Maybe you just need to go do your own thing.”  Then maybe we’re both wasting a lot of time, if that’s your position.  (Henney)  I am questioning that.  I’m questioning how much time and effort we’re putting into these things.”

Carson and Clyde again said they’re trying to figure out how a BRT system is going to work.      

“It’s not that there’s not trust.  It’s just an unknown.  And if we’re investing, what we’re looking at investing in this, we need to know what that plan is.    And again, it’s evolving.  (Clyde) Tim I don’t know that it’s any more complicated than somehow or another, the label of Bonanza being the terminus for the White Bus stuck on that.  And you don’t have a lot of data, and we don’t have a lot of data and  we’ve been trying to figure out what that means.”

Finally, Henney said it might benefit  transit if the county and city went their different  ways.       

“And if there’s something that ties us together, that creates a contractual obligation, we should sever that,  so that you have flexibility and freedom and so that we have flexibility and freedom.  And you’re not boxed in on this path.    I’m looking at it as offering more possibilities, more opportunity to achieve our shared goals.   And we should be agreeing on that, so that we’re not nit-picking at each other over all these little things, which raises the question, do we have trust in the shared goals and what we’re trying to get to.   And I don’t know.”

Park City Council Member Tim Henney

Known for getting all the facts right, as well as his distinctive sign-off, Rick covered Summit County meetings and issues for 35 years on KPCW. He now heads the Friday Film Review team.
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