A Quarter For Clean Air: More Transit Means Less Pollution

Open Letter to Gov. Gary Herbert and Utah Legislators:

We appreciate your efforts to clean up Utah’s air. We know air quality is one of the top issues you face in the current legislative session, and most of the solutions are difficult, expensive and complicated. 

One direct, simple – and very substantive – action you can take this session is to support expanding and increasing the convenience and frequency of public transit that will take cars off roads. This will significantly improve our air quality. This is a step forward endorsed by the Governor’s Clean Air Action Team.

A “Quarter for Clean Air” – Rep. Johnny Anderson’s HB388, lifts the cap on local-option sales tax funding by one quarter of one percent. This would enable counties to ask voters if they would like to expand public transit, making it more convenient and frequent, and would be a significant action taken by you to clean our air.

We are an alliance of business leaders, local government officials, non-profit organizations and individual citizens. By giving local officials the ability to ask voters if they would like to expand public transit, we believe that passing Rep. Anderson’s bill is one the most important things you can do this session to empower citizens to choose clean air for Utah well into the future.  

In providing this critical tool, the Legislature would not be increasing taxes or even authorizing a vote on taxes. You would be tackling this issue head-on and partnering with local leaders – and voters – in combating dirty air. Recent Salt Lake Chamber-commissioned survey research shows air pollution is a top concern of Utah voters and 76 percent support transportation initiatives to improve air quality.

The Wasatch Front has one of the best public transit backbones in the country. Now the focus must switch from building large new infrastructure projects to increasing frequency, coverage and convenience of bus and rail service, and expanding active transportation opportunities. When public transit is more frequent, convenient, and easily accessible with walking and cycling options, ridership increases significantly.

We know that vehicle emissions produce 57 percent of air pollution during inversions. Increased public transit attacks this problem head-on and will have immediate benefits. 

A quarter cent funding boost, if approved by voters, would result long-term in a 68 percent overall increase in service and a projected 89 percent increase in ridership. These improvements would remove 344,000 tons of emissions and reduce auto-related pollutants by an additional 74 percent by taking an additional 84,000 vehicles off our roads. A multitude of other benefits would occur in our communities. 

This is a unique opportunity to immediately move the dial on air quality and do what Utah does best – collaborate to accomplish big things. In the interest of improved air quality and mobility, we encourage you to support Rep. Johnny Anderson’s HB388.




Michael Smith

American Council of Engineering Companies of Utah

Chris Hipwell

Associated Builders and Contractors of Utah

Rich Thorn

Associated General Contractors – Utah Chapter

Leo Gonazlez


Phil Sarnoff


Debbie Sigman

Breathe Utah

Kent C. Gibson

Captsone Property Management LC



Michael R. Weinholtz

CHG Healthcare Services Inc.

Mayor JoAnn Seghini

City of Midvale

Wilford Clyde

Clyde Companies

Lonnie Bullard

Co-Chair Governor’s Clean Air Action Team

Lew Cramer

Coldwell Banker Commercial Intermountain

Mike Hawthorne

Congress for New Urbanism

Dave Iltis


Pat Jones

Dan Jones & Associates


Davis County Chamber

Jason Mathis

Downtown Alliance


Draper Area Chamber of Commerce 


Draper Chamber of Commerce

Mayor Troy Walker

Draper City

Jeff Stenquist

Draper City Council

Billy Rappley

Draper City Council


East Valley Chamber

Brad Sweet

Granite Construction

Ben Bolte

GreenBike SLCBikeShare

Brent Jensen


Christopher Thomas


Mayor Carmen Freeman

Herriman City

Tim Horrocks

Institute for Transportation Engineers

Chris P. Gamvroulas

Ivory Homes 

Lonnie Bullard

Jacobsen Construction


Jones Lang LaSalle

Wick Udy

Jones Lang LaSalle

Rick Folkerson

Ken Garff Automotive Group

Raymond J. Etcheverry

Parsons Behle & Latimer

Ron Clegg

Parsons Brinckerhoff


Ralph L. Wadsworth Construction

Doug and Larry Anderson

Redmond Materials


Rio Tinto-Kennecott

Mayor Bill Applegarth

Riverton City

Rich Walje

Rocky Mountain Power

Lane Beattie

Salt Lake Chamber

Mayor Ralph Becker

Salt Lake City

Deneece G. Huftalin PhD

Salt Lake Community College

Mayor Ben McAdams

Salt Lake County


Sandy Chamber

Jeff Scott

Scott Machinery Company

Pat Richards


Mark Clemens

Sierra Club- Utah Chapter

Nathan Rafferty


Bob Bonar



South Salt Lake Chamber

Clayton Gilliland

Stacy & Witbeck

Scott Parson

Staker Parson

Graden P. Jackson  Esq.


Barrie Brewer

Syloet Solutions International

Craig Dawson

The Guarantee Company of North America


Utah Asphalt Paving Association 


Utah Association of Counties

Dee Rowland

Utah Citizens’ Council

Terry Morasco

Utah Clean Air Alliance

Grant S. Whitaker

Utah Housing Corporation


Utah Small Business Coalition

David Golden and H. David Burton

Utah Transportation Coalition

Roger Borgenicht and Ann Floor

Utahns for Better Transportation


Vest Pocket


Wadsworth Development Group

Andrew Gruber

Wasatch Front Regional Council

Charles A. Wight

Weber State University

Elizabeth Goryunova

World Trade Center Utah

William Kieffer


Craig Dawson


Jin Wang


Wendy Zeigler


Jeff Cochran


Jeff Clyde 


Jim Golding


Shane Albrecht


Hart Wybrow