UTA & SLC deserve Sen. Dabakis on UTA Board

Tomorrow, Tuesday June 13th, the Salt Lake City Council has scheduled their advice and consent of Sen. Jim Dabakis, my choice to represent the people of Salt Lake City on the UTA Board of Trustees.

As I have previously said, my top priority was to select an individual who could help rebuild trust between UTA and taxpayers across the region. We know that upgrades to service and our transit infrastructure will require support from taxpayers, and as the Salt Lake Tribune put it in a May 10th editorial:

“UTA still not credible enough to ask for more taxes” (Read)

This is a problem.

Since being nominated, Sen. Dabakis has reached out to members of the Board to see where he can help. He is serious about bringing needed reforms to the agency, has pledged to keep meetings open to the public, and is willing to listen to transit experts to make the best decisions for the people of Salt Lake City and the Wasatch Front. He’s even drafted a UTA Taxpayer Bill of Rights proposal with North Ogden City Mayor Brent Taylor.

Read: Sen. Dabakis and Mayor Taylor UTA Taxpayer Bill of Rights

Sen. Dabakis has described this appointment as: “the most important assignment of my political career.”

Sen. Dabakis is the first to admit he is not a transit planner—like both the Council and myself, he will have to rely on experts—it’s what he currently does as a member of the Senate Transportation, Public Utilities, Energy, and Technology Committee. The City Council doesn’t demand the Airport Advisory Board be filled with only travel or aviation experts, or the Human Rights Commission be filled only with civil rights lawyers—instead we find the right person for the job.

Being on the Board of one of the most complex agencies in the State is about being able to successfully move forward agendas, understanding finances, and ensuring transparency always reigns. Sen. Dabakis is the right person for that job.

Sen. Dabakis will fill a seat on the Board, which expires in 2019. I believe it is prudent, and appropriate to give Sen. Dabakis at least two years to work to create an agency with enough credibility to do its job fully. I pledge to the residents of Salt Lake City and the City Council, to bring our representative on the UTA Board forward for advice and consent at the expiration of every term—something that has not been happening for years.

While I was disappointed to hear that some City Council members refused to speak with Sen. Dabakis personally, I am hopeful they will provide him with a fair opportunity to present his qualifications in the open hearing.

Salt Lake City needs someone with courage, conviction, and conscience on the UTA Board of Trustees. I urge the Salt Lake City Council to display all three and approve Sen. Dabakis tomorrow.

Members of the public are invited to attend the City Council hearing on Sen. Dabakis at 5:15 PM, or the 7:00 PM formal session to watch the City Council vote on his appointment. Both meetings take place in the City and County Building at 451 South State Street, Salt Lake City, 3rd floor.

Members of the public who wish to express their opinion to the City Council can do so via email at:


District 1 – James Rogers


District 2 – Andrew Johnston


District 3 – Stan Penfold


District 4 – Derek Kitchen


District 5 – Erin Mendenhall


District 6 – Charlie Luke


District 7 –Lisa Adams



Photo: By Garrett – Flickr: FrontRunner at Central Station, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=19984788

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