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OPINION: Will UTA Fare Free Days fix inversions?

Dirty air, seen trapped here by a weather phenomenon known as a temperature inversion, is a focus of Gov. Herbert's proposed budget.

Governor Gary Herbert announced a plan to try to prevent inversions from getting worse. In an attempt to reduce smog, he wants to create a UTA Fare Free day to incentivize people who normally drive to take public transportation.

Carl Arky joined our show, claiming this measure would encourage people who normally drive to take the train. Though, he admitted the “Devil is in the details.” The last time UTA hosted a free fare day, UTA lost $75,000 in just one day, Arky said.

I get it. I want to prevent inversions as much as the next guy. My daughter suffers from severe asthma that worsens during inversions to the point where it’s hard for her to leave the house.

Personally, I don’t think UTA’s Free Fare Day will make that much of a difference in our on terrible inversion days. I take the train 90% of the time, but not because I’m an environmentalist. I take the train because I’m lazy. I take it because my company pays for the ticket, it’s sometimes faster than driving, it pulls up within a five-minute walk from my house and my work. But if those convenience factors weren’t there, I don’t think I’d go out of my way to ride the train into work on heavy inversion days.

Let’s look at other measures like tax breaks to incentivize companies to create air-quality-friendly policies that will actually motivate fewer people to drive on poor air quality days rather than waste tax dollars on a program that won’t make much of a dent.

Jay Mcfarland hosts the JayMac News Show as well as the fictional podcast, Hosts of Eden. KSL Newsradio is part of Bonneville Media and based in Salt Lake City, Utah.

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