Recently, I wondered why Bountiful’s Mayor Johnson had taken a sudden interest in streetcars. I knew part of it was related to a trip he made to Europe. I thought it was a personally paid for trip…how incredibly naive of me. He was there as part of a UTA junket (using taxpayer funds):
The Utah Transit Authority spent at least $48,000 last month taking nine managers and board members, a business booster and three mayors on a weeklong tour of six European streetcar systems.
The itinerary: Vienna, Munich, Zurich, Nice and Bordeaux, with incidental stops in Monaco and Paris. The goal: peruse state-of-the-art trains unlike any used in North America and consider them as possible connectors that can share traffic lanes with cars to link with Utah’s expanding light-rail system. The travel tab: An estimated $3,700 a head — all from UTA tax dollars.
It’s a good thing UTA got it’s tax increase last March…
Parting point: take a look at the talking points by the UTA’s John Inglish, in the above article, and compare to the Mayor’s statements in the Clipper article.
UPDATE: I missed this: Below the SL Trib article is a listing of those who went on the junket. Centerville City Councilman Justin Allen (who is also a UTA board member, I believe) and Lane Beattie with the Salt Lake Chamber of Commerce are a couple of other “Davisites” who went on the trip.
Note: the link to the SL Trib story is old and gone. The full article (“Critics question UTA’s Europe trip”) is available here.