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Air Quality

Many of the most pressing issues we face today are related to the extraordinary growth of the population in our state. Air quality is certainly one of them. But it’s not only growth that causes our air quality issues.

We are all in this together so working with local municipalities will be important. We also have to remember that our air quality issues are somewhat localized within the state – the Wasatch Front, Cache Valley… so we have to remember that the problem we’re trying to address doesn’t impact every part of our state. Again, one-size-fits-all isn’t the best approach.

We have geographic elements that make emissions and air quality an issue for us for certain periods of time each year. We have taken important steps but there is more we can do.

One of the reasons we implemented the four-day workweek for state government employees was to reduce emissions. Taking some 24,000 employees off the roads for a commute to and from work was a nice start. We are just now shifting to cleaner-burning Tier 3 gasoline and that should make a significant difference. 

Going forward, we need to increase the availability of charging stations for electric vehicles, including fast-charging stations. UTA FrontRunner trains currently have the dirtiest engines so converting from Tier 1 to Tier 5 engines, and ultimately to electric should be part of our long-term plan. Increased capacity on our transit system and lowering or eliminating fees on red air days should be part of the equation, as well.