There is an insidious plan being adopted cloaked in a catchphrase called “sustainable developments“.
Look out everyone, these plans might sneak into your neighborhoods, and when they do, the liberal whackos will move in and completely take over! Socialism will take control and then you can kiss your freedom bye bye!
So say conspiracy theorists fighting “Agenda 21”. Which has its roots in a UN resolution to promote smarter growth around the world.
Some theorists believe that this idea is connected to a grand scheme which will eliminate the middle class. And “sustainable developers” are simply operating in a secret army which will oppress everyone in a lower-class and all of this is directed by the UN.
One Utah blogger whose story was posted on my Facebook page is calling ”transportation villages”, where one not need own a car, as a “concentration camp, where you are watched, surveyed (he spelled it surveilled) and controlled—driven out of your car and on foot where you are easier to catch”. This is absurd.
Active Commutes and Walkable Communities
I would suggest the author visit some great walkable communities, places where people enjoy the freedom of not owning a car. It is liberating to have the option for an “active commute” where we can choose to walk or bike to work, rather than sit in a car in traffic and pollute our air.
Not only does the pollution of vehicle emissions make our air dirty– giving Wasatch Front residents a far more greater likelihood in developing asthma, emphysema or lung cancer, but our vehicular dependence costs us a fortune in taxes.
We are taxed 24.5 cents for every gallon of gasoline we buy in Utah. I will pay a “registration fee” of almost $200 this year (it should be called what it is– it’s a tax). Plus I am mandated to pay around $90 per month in car insurance. If it’s mandated it should be called a tax. Plus a large portion of our sales tax goes to maintaining roads and bridges and highway patrol.
About UDOT Funding
Total UDOT revenue exceeds $634 million from TIF (transportation investment fund) revenue (45% of their total funds). The transportation fund is $535 million (35% of their total funds) ($11 million of which goes to other agencies like public safety). Plus federal matched funds there is another $269,300,000 (which is 22% of their funding). Total UDOT funds are $1.4 billion. Feel free to check my math from this somewhat confusing report.
So, if I understand correctly UDOT gets a piece of the action in nearly every tax we pay. Our federal income tax, state tax, sales tax, car reg (tax), gas tax. So much money goes to this agency it’s mind boggling. UDOT wanted its finger in the pie of Prop One, which likely lead the the defeat of this transit tax in Salt Lake County.
With all this money going to UDOT. I don’t believe it’s at all well spent. Few people would argue that cars and the suburban mess we are building is the leading factor of our declining quality of life in Utah.
Through the massive amount of taxes we pay for roads we greatly subsidize the trucking industry. How many of the vehicles on the road are actually semi trucks loading massive amounts of cargo? Guess who is subsidizing that? We are, through UDOT and all of our taxes.
Our vehicular dependence is a slavery. Attempting to walk or bike in places where the pedestrians and bikers are clearly a distant afterthought, is like trying to run through a gauntlet. Higher density housing and shifting subsidies from freeways to more walking and biking paths is a great solution.
Many of the new fastest growing suburban areas are becoming dystopias. In a few days I’ll be releasing a video of myself attempting to bike around West Valley. Where I find a hodgepodge of bike paths and bike corridors which don’t really lead any retail or destinations.
West Valley is Utah’s second largest city, and growing very quickly, but obviously they put little effort into helping the lower classes by offering a viable alternative to use a bike or walk to get around.
A Final Word to the Utah Blogging Community
I appreciate bloggers because they offer voices of minority opinions a means to speak out and expose corruption. Utah Stories started as a blog. But bloggers need to adopt the ideals of good journalism: cite your sources clearly, don’t make claims you can’t back up with factual evidence. And avoid ranting. Utah Stories got off the ground because other legitimate sources for journalism began pointing to our work. (This was our little manifesto written about what we wanted to do back in 2009: Called debugging Democracy and Government).
I’d like to see more blogs evolve into excellent sources for news and good journalism. But unless bloggers adopt good journalism practices, this will never happen.