UTA name change could cost Utah taxpayers $50 million

UTA name change could cost Utah taxpayers $50 million (Photo: KUTV)

(KUTV)- A possible Uta Transit Authority name change and some other big changes could possibly cost Utah taxpayers $50 million dollars.

“What has worked for the last 50 years governing in our transportation will not work in the next 50 years,” Rep. Mike Schultz said. “There's been some concerns around the way UTA has been structured."

Senate Bill 136 is aimed to overhaul UTA, including moving from a 16-part-time board member team to a 3 full-time member team appointed by the governor and a name change.

The name change would be from UTA to Transit District of Utah or TDU.

Rep. Carol Spackman Moss, said she’s supportive of the bill but the name, “I don’t think the name really sounds good, t-duh?” She thinks the money for a name change could be better spent like buying more buses, “It's really the cost, to change perception you change the culture, you improve your service, people won't care whether it's still called UTA."

When the cost to change the name was brought up, $50 million was the estimated cost tossed around, “Think of 50 million dollars and what you can do with 50 million dollars that is not even close to an accurate estimate,” Rep. Schultz said.

Sherrie Hall Everett is a current UTA board member and believes that number is close, “It could be more, it really could be more,” she said.

“When you take into consideration trucks, software, all the printed materials thousands of vehicles, uniforms for thousands of people," she said we need to be careful with the taxpayer money though.

“We need to fund transportation in this state and we need to do it in a strategic helpful way.”

Everett was not supportive of the idea of replacing the general counsel with legal counsel from the Utah Attorney General’s Office. “Putting that over into the attorney general's office I think is going to create some conflicts of interest as we negotiate contracts between different agencies we represent,” she said.

Rep. Shultz says the overhaul and the name change are necessary. “You don't just keep the old name that's tarnished that has concerns that has mistrust within the public. It's a new day, we have a new organization."

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