A panel of elected officials met together to discuss challenges and plans for the Wasatch Back as part of the annual Wasatch Back Summit.
The panel of elected officials included the Mayors of Kamas, Park City, Heber and Midway. The panel also included councilmembers from Summit and Wasatch Counties. The panel was asked about what the groups are doing to address transit issues between the communities. Midway Mayor Celesete Johnson answered that a study was already underway.
“In my opinion we’re an incredibly cooperative group," Mayor Johnson continued. " (Mayor) Kelleen (Potter) and I have been referred to as the sister mayors. So, we really do get along. We all try to pool our resources. We've had meetings, UDOT is now involved there's a study being conducted that is a transportation with UTA possibly. I don't know all the stuff but it's happening. I don't know if the bid’s been awarded for who's doing that study yet but if it hasn't it will be in minutes. We are absolutely working, looking at that. Looking at how working together we can solve the problem that is affecting some more than others right now, but we're all going to be affected. We're all looking at green solutions.”
As we’ve reported the transit study will receive funds from six different government agencies those being Wasatch County, Park City, Heber, Midway, Mountainlands Association of Governments, Utah Department of Transportation and Utah Transit Authority.
The study is estimated to cost $100,000 with 80% of the study being funded through UDOT’s rural transit division.
Summit County Council Chair Roger Armstrong conceded that historically there’s been issues between the two communities, but Armstrong also believes those days are in the past.
“If all of the economic benefit of a work force accrued to the benefit of the Snyderville Basin and Park City," Armstrong explained. "Wasatch County got the workers and having to provide services for the workers and did not get the economic benefits to that. I think that created a challenge for them to find a way to participate. I think as those economics change and as we see a much more robust economic base created by this massive growth that Wasatch County is experiencing, Mayflower is experiencing. I think we’re going to have to look at how we move people back and forth, both on the visitor side, as well as on the worker side.”
Park City Mayor Andy Beerman is encouraged by the talks surrounding the study plan.
“We’ve started to have a really solid conversation with Wasatch County and then that's also expanded into Utah County wants to be part of that," Armstrong said. "So, currently we are studying the feasibility of running buses all the way from Utah County into Summit County and Park City with connections between Heber and Park City Heber and Provo and such. For the first time we have all the players at the table, so it's exciting. I think you'll see progress, it's never fast enough.”
Mayor Beerman also noted that the Military Instillation Development Authority, or MIDA, and those involved with the Mayflower development are also involved in the talks.