As warm weather arrives in Emerald City, the local political climate warms up right along with it. This morning's Salt Lake Tribune reports on yesterday's Weber County Council of Governments meeting:
OGDEN - Weber State University students asked the Weber Area Council of Governments to kick in money - and kick-start - a study to determine whether a streetcar or Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) should be the transit system linking downtown Ogden to WSU and the nearby McKay Dee Hospital Center.As the price of gasoline soars, and sensible Ogden citizens cast about for viable transportation alternatives (see this morning's Charlie Trentelman article), Boss Godfrey appears to remain fixated on the same debilitating mayoral obsession which has stymied coherent Ogden public transportation discussion and planning since 2005.
The WACOG, composed of Weber County commissioners, mayors and city council members of various communities, made no promises at its Monday meeting.
But the group did get a glimpse of how contentious the proposed transit project, suggested by a 2005 feasibility study, has become in Ogden.
Mayor Matthew Godfrey blasted the proposal to build a streetcar or BRT from the downtown transit center - and FrontRunner commuter rail - east along 26th Street to Harrison Boulevard as "fatally flawed" and no longer an option.
"It's out. There is no way to pay for it," said Godfrey. "Why would you pay for a study if there is no way to pay for it?" [...].
Godfrey assured other members of COG that he's not opposed to transit between downtown and the university. "I believe other corridors and methods need to be studied." [...].
Chris Bentley, legislative vice president of the Weber State University Student Association, said Ogden has missed a chance by failing to move on its 2005 feasibility study, funded jointly by the city, WSU and the Utah Transit Authority.
Bentley said a transit system beyond the existing UTA buses would be a boon to students and faculty who travel to campus, and to the county's economy. "It's actually a regional issue, not just an Ogden City issue."
As reported in this morning's story, Godfrey will be taking his bad act back to a city council work session on May 15, to discuss unspecified "transit options." According to Godfrey, "Ogden City needs a plan where the administration and council are on the same page." The lumpencitizens of Ogden of course know exactly what that means:
Gondolas to nowhere, anyone?
This May 15 meeting may well turn out to be one that nobody will want to miss. As everyone knows, Godfrey's always at his most entertaining best when pitching his knuckleheaded Godfrey schemes. Fashion accessories like torches and pitchforks are optional as always at city council work sessions; but steely-eyed stares are mandatory, of course.