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Summit County Council Member Robinson Reflects On Transit Summit With Park City

Leslie Thatcher

Summit County Council Member Chris Robinson says the county’s transit summit March 5th with the Park City Council was a good meeting.   And although the discussion was sometimes passionate, he says it was good to get some issues on the table.  

The two government entities currently work under an Interlocal Agreement , with the county receiving services from the city.    And given that the two bodies have the same goals for transit, we asked Robinson, what’s the bone of contention?    He said it’s a small one.      

”One of the issues, of course, is how it’s governed in the future—whether it’s on an Interlocal Agreement where Park City is in control and we buy services.  And then the other model would be to create some kind of a governance authority, which is where I think Summit County would prefer to be.”

Park City officials are saying that their system is stretched to capacity.   Robinson said the county doesn’t have a burning need to expand services now, but they are looking at the big picture of regional service in the future.

“What we want to do in the longer period is expand the system.   And so then, if it’s at capacity, and they have no interest in being part of an expanded system, then we’ll have to do that on our own.     They say they want to be participants in a regional system.   But sorta my takeaway from it all is they would like the Interlocal Agreement amended and revised, and have it go forward, which perpetuates the status quo, and then have us work—and they would be a participant in working with us in some fashion on a regional system.”

We asked Robinson, though, if the county has to set up its own system, in the event it wants to undertake specific  improvements in Basin transit.

“There’s maybe a fine line between adding some service on existing routes, or adding a few routes in the Basin that might be part of the existing District, versus from whole cloth creating  new routes.   But if we were to take what we heard  at face value last night, and we wanted to run a new route to Coalville or something, we’d be on our own, if we wanted to do that tomorrow.  But I don’t think we should get—we shouldn’t read too much into what happened yesterday.  It’s one data point in a procession of meetings and negotiations and figuring out what we all want.”

In the meeting, Park City Council Member Tim Henney was concerned over the county’s opinions about the Bonanza Arts and Culture area being a terminus for Bus Rapid Transit, or about a possible park n ride at Quinn’s Junction.   

Robinson said those are issues for transit, but the county isn’t trying to over-ride the city’s land-use perogatives.     

“And he was viewing those as kind of land-use decisions.  We view those as part of a transit system decision, which is not to say that a transit district’s not going to come in and muscle its way into the city and put things where the city doesn’t want em.    But I think they, they would lose some control.  That’s the whole question is—does the city want to be a sole proprietor, or does it want to be a partner?  A sole proprietor is omnipotent.  It doesn’t share authority.  It just does what it wants.   It doesn’t have to consult with its partner.”

Summit County Council Member Chris Robinson, who said the county and city will continue to look at these issues in meetings of the Joint Transportation Advisory Board, or JTAB.

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