“I oppose a taxpayer-funded gondola that will permanently scar our pristine canyon landscape and create even more congestion in Sandy. We have better options.”
I’ve been on the record at City Council meetings for months opposing the gondola and calling for a better option in Little Cottonwood Canyon. Like me, my constituents view the gondola as a costly and permanent scar on the pristine canyon landscape. We should not sell out our precious public land in this unique urban canyon for the benefit of private industry. My constituents favor a more limited, public-serving rapid bus solution with well-managed, nimble hubs that unlike the gondola, actually keep traffic away from the mouth of the canyon.
I am not persuaded that the canyon road must be widened for the rapid bus option to work. I would revisit more measured, common-sense solutions like installing flex-lane travel or requiring resorts to limit capacity with a reservation system, surge pricing on paid parking, and incentivizing carpooling. The resorts and developers who stand the most to gain are in the best position to change their customer's behavior and should do so before turning to the Utah taxpayer to pick up the tab for their customers.
As Mayor, I would be fully engaged in representing our city’s interest at every stage of the planning process, including meeting with government officials at the federal, state, and county levels. I would educate Sandy residents about important decisions and how they can participate and would apply the full weight of our substantial political influence to ensure the best outcome for our residents.
As one of our neighbors mentioned, our national forest land is the “land of many uses” – not just for skiers. To justify such vast public investment, the transportation solution must serve the needs of more than skiers. Sandy needs a mayor with vision to ensure our city will stand to benefit from the transit investment, and not just absorb the impact.
The cost estimates for the gondola are between $500 million to over a billion dollars. Spending so much money for a gondola that consumes the pristine mountain landscape, invades homeowner’s privacy, and will cost every man woman and child in Utah an incalculable sum, amounts to the State picking winners and losers in our economy.
One final note, the flex lane discussion should be revived. It was dismissed earlier in this process because of the visual impact of the overhead roadway gantries. But when compared to the 250’ gondola towers, the gantries seem modest. We need to take a closer look at exhausting options that serve canyons visitors where they begin their trip, rather than driving traffic to the mouth of the canyon. Nothing should be built before the canyon’s capacity study is completed. Please show respect for the Utah taxpayer, and if public money is spent, make sure it serves our common interest of protecting our canyon and watershed, and manages public resources for the good of the public and not private interests.