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Park City Councilmember Says He Doesn't Trust Summit County Council With Shared Transit Control

KPCW Radio

The Park City Council received an update from this week’s Joint Transit Advisory Board meeting, after members of the city council and Summit County Council exchanged some fiery sentiments. 

The Join Transit Advisory Board, or JTAB, features representatives from both the Park City Council and Summit County Council—Park City Mayor Andy Beerman and Councilmember Tim Henney; and County Councilmembers Kim Carson and Doug Clyde.

Park City Transportation Director Alfred Knotts says in the past, the board was very informal, unclear on its goals and lacked public involvement. The board is now working toward determining shared goals for both entities in the transit system.

At the JTAB meeting Tuesday, Henney and Beerman expressed frustration toward the county over recent breakdowns in communication around a transit hub in the future arts and culture district.

Henney doubled down at Thursday’s city council meeting, saying the city council has one idea in mind for transit, while the county has disagreement even among councilmembers. Earlier in December, the county council had its first visioning session for its long-term transit goals.

“We all, at this table, agree that we’re trying to skin a cat, and there are a lot of different ways to skin a cat, and that’s kind of what it comes down to," Henney said. "They [the county council]—one member thinks it’s a cat we’re trying to skin; one thinks it might be a racoon; one’s pretty sure it’s a dog; the other thinks it’s a donkey; and the fifth wants to negotiate whether it’s a donkey or a dog. That’s literally where they are.”

According to Beerman, the Park City transit system has been built mostly for tourists, then the workforce and lastly for the residents. He says that’s because the goal is to get the most cars off the road, and targeting tourists has the biggest impact. But Beerman says the county wants something different.

“What we’re hearing from the county is a lot of residents are feeling left out, and they want to put resources toward that," Beerman said. "We can do that, but that’s probably going to put more cars back on the road.”

The city and county are in the process of updating their transit operations agreement, and Summit County has expressed a desire for more authority than it currently has in the system. At this point, Henney says he can’t rely on the county as a governing partner.

“I don’t have the level of trust that they are functional enough and competent enough to be the type of partner that we will require to enter into that type of partnership,” Henney said.

The city and county councils will meet Feb. 5 to discuss their goals and vision for the transit system.

Emily Means hadn’t intended to be a journalist, but after two years of studying chemistry at the University of Utah, she found her fit in the school’s communication program. Diving headfirst into student media opportunities, Means worked as a host, producer and programming director for K-UTE Radio as well as a news writer and copy editor at The Daily Utah Chronicle.
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