The Transportation Governance and Funding Task Force met November 27 to review and discuss a potential new governance model for the State’s transportation system. Sen. Wayne Harper explained the newly proposed Model D governance model that would create changes to UDOT and UTA as well as changes to the Legislature and Governor’s office.
UTA Governance Changes would Deal with Composition
This would be to replace the current UTA 16-member board of directors with a full time three-member transit commission. Each commissioner would be appointed by the Governor from a list of three recommended nominees provided by the counties and the UTA service districts. One from Salt Lake County, one from Utah County (with consultation with Tooele County), one from Davis and Weber County (in consultation with Box Elder County). All nominees would be subject to the consent of the State Senate and serve at the will of the Governor for three-year terms. One commissioner for administration, one for operations and maintenance and one for finance. They would appoint legal counsel and audit. In addition to the three-member transit commission, there would be a nine-person advisory committee. The advisory committee would approve compensation for commissioners.
Areas of Concern with the New Governance Model
- Is a three-member commission large enough to accomplish proper county oversight if county tax dollars are being sourced?
- Is this model moving the control of governance to the State? Right now, the majority of funding comes from these districts and counties. Rep. Mike Shultz disputed this notion of locally- imposed tax dollars being managed by the state.
- Which counties get which commissioner seats? Finance, administration, and operations & Maintenance?
- Many Counties are moving away from a three-member committee. A five-member commission may be more effective.
- What is the Task Force trying to accomplish? Is this a matter of trying to obtain Transportation Investment Funds? The Legislature will most likely not support.
- These Task Force concerns need to be resolved before a proposed bill reaches the Legislature and the rest of the group loses input in the process. Currently, no bill has been presented to the Transportation Governance and Funding Task Force.
Conclusion of Task Force Meeting
The Chairs’ recommended transportation governance reforms was approved as presented, but with the changes suggested by the members. Stipulation was included that the task force schedule at least one additional meeting to discuss the proposed transportation governance reforms and the potential draft legislation. Commissioner Bret Millburn asked that considerations raised by the Task Force members be included in their report to the Legislature. The motion passed with a vote of 13 – 0 – 3.