$1 billion transportation infrastructure bill could change Utah’s roads and public transportation


The spending plan could be made potential by tens of millions in federal funding from the American Rescue Plans Act.

(Leah Hogsten | The Salt Lake Tribune) Utah Transit Authority’s FrontRunner prepare operator prepares to depart the station in Ogden on Monday, Dec. 7, 2020.

As time runs out on the 2022 common session, Utah lawmakers are working behind the scenes to craft an enormous transit infrastructure invoice that could possibly be value as a lot as $1 billion.

The issue is determining tips on how to pay for it.

Transportation spending, primarily specializing in street building and public transit, is feasible due to federal funding from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) handed by Congress.

Utah obtained roughly $1.5 billion in federal cash by means of ARPA, however there are restrictions on how it may be spent. The thought: discover locations the place ARPA funds can exchange present income within the common fund, which then frees up cash for the transit invoice.

Sen. Jerry Stevenson, R-Layton, explains it’s not so simple as simply plugging the cash into the funds.

“We can’t use all these ARPA funds for no matter we wish. That’s why we’ve put it into water tasks and different issues,” Stevenson mentioned.

That capability to unencumber money for infrastructure wants with out pulling from one other pot of cash is a singular alternative. There may be not sufficient extra cash within the common fund to cowl the scope of the tasks lawmakers are hoping to incorporate within the invoice with out the federal cash.

“We’ll by no means be capable to do that a lot once more,” mentioned a legislative supply with data of the infrastructure discussions, however who was not approved to remark.

The enhance in funding will go a protracted technique to addressing Utah’s transportation wants, however it nonetheless isn’t sufficient to cowl each want. The bottom funds for transportation in Utah this yr is about $2.8 billion. Further transportation-related funds requests accounted for an additional $1.2 billion in one-time cash and $800,000 in ongoing funds.

Utah added half 1,000,000 new residents between 2010 and 2020, a mixture of individuals shifting right here and Utahns having kids. That’s an 18.4% development price, the quickest within the nation.

And as such, Utah lawmakers have just lately been on a transportation spending spree.

In 2021, they handed a $1.23 billion transit package deal that included $264 billion in bonds to double-track parts of the FrontRunner commuter rail. That proposal was pared down from its preliminary $2.26 billion price ticket after Republicans within the Senate balked at borrowing $1.4 billion by means of bonding.

Earlier than the 2022 session, legislative leaders put aside $200 million to rescind the FrontRunner bonds issued, saving the state tens of millions in bond funds. Lawmakers are hoping to unencumber sufficient money to pay for all the transit tasks on this yr’s invoice with out borrowing, however bonds are once more a chance.

If public transit tasks are included within the remaining checklist, the state might have extra management over how that cash is spent. A present proposal — HB322, which nonetheless wants Senate debate — transfers oversight of public transit tasks funded with state cash from the Utah Transit Authority to the Utah Division of Transportation.

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Roman has coated expertise for the reason that early Nineties. His profession began at MacUser, and he is labored for MacAddict, Mac|Life, and TechTV.

Riverbeds in Western states should be open to the public to fish.


Riverbeds in Western states must be open to the general public to fish.

(David Zalubowski | AP picture)

On this Oct. 7, 2019, picture, Colorado Lawyer Normal Phil Weiser speaks throughout a information convention in Denver.

Eighty-year-old Roger Hill used to go fishing on the Arkansas River in Colorado. However he typically needed to duck baseball-size rocks thrown at him by landowners who insisted he was trespassing. When he obtained again to his automobile, he typically discovered notes threatening him with arrest if he returned. Worse, a fellow fisherman was shot at by a landowner, who obtained 30 days in jail for the assault.

Slightly than risking both harm or arrest, Hill sued the landowners, claiming that the mattress of the Arkansas River is navigable. If that assumption is true, then Hill can legally stand on the riverbed and fish.

However Roger Hill’s combat is not only about his proper to fish. It’s about pushing again in opposition to the creeping tide of wealth-driven privatization that seeks to disclaim public entry to our waterways and different public sources.

Right here’s Hill’s case in a nutshell: When Colorado grew to become a state in 1876, it entered the Union on an “equal footing” with different states. Amongst different issues, the equal footing doctrine offers states title to the beds of all navigable streams inside their borders.

Because the U.S. Supreme Courtroom defined in a case referred to as Illinois Central Railroad v. Illinois, “it’s a title totally different in character from that which the state holds in lands meant on the market…. It’s a title held in belief for the folks of the state, that they might benefit from the navigation of the waters, stick with it commerce over them, and have liberty of fishing therein, free of the obstruction or interference of personal events.”

Historical past buffs may be to know that these public rights in navigable waterways date again a minimum of to the time of the Roman Empire.

You would possibly assume that Colorado would be part of this case on Hill’s facet. As a substitute, the alternative occurred. Lawyer Normal Phil Weiser, a Democrat, joined the case on the facet of the non-public landowners and has moved aggressively in opposition to Hill, searching for not simply to disclaim his proper to fish from the mattress of the river, but additionally to assert that Hill doesn’t have the appropriate to even be in court docket.

At varied occasions, Weiser has considerably astoundingly argued that there are not any navigable rivers in Colorado, and that even when there have been, the state might deny public entry to navigable riverbeds. A lot for the Supreme Courtroom’s holding that the state holds title to the mattress of navigable streams “in belief for the folks, that they might … have the freedom of fishing therein.”

In Colorado, alternatives to get exterior and discover are celebrated. For that motive, it’s alarming that the state’s lawyer basic seeks to disclaim public entry to Colorado’s navigable waterways. If he have been to prevail, Colorado can be alone among the many 50 states — together with all of its Western neighbors — in denying these rights.

Lately, the Colorado Courtroom of Appeals provided Roger Hill a glimmer of hope that Weiser might be stopped. The court docket held that Hill has standing to pursue his declare in state court docket and made the essential discovering that If “the related section of the river was navigable at statehood, then the … defendants don’t personal the riverbed and would haven’t any proper to exclude [Hill] from it by threats of bodily violence or prosecution for trespass.”

Though it appears unlikely, Weiser now has a possibility to modify sides and help public rights in navigable waterways, together with Roger Hill’s proper to fish whereas wading the mattress of the Arkansas River. Coloradans ought to count on and demand that he accomplish that.

The Colorado Structure proclaims that “water of each pure stream … throughout the state of Colorado, is … the property of the general public…” When the framers devoted Colorado’s pure streams to “the usage of the folks” they absolutely didn’t count on that the state’s lawyer basic would aggressively attempt to block public use.

Roger Hill’s combat is everybody’s combat. Let’s hope that he prevails.

Mark Squillace | Writers on the Vary

Mark Squillace is a contributor to Writers on the Vary, writersontherange.org, a nonprofit devoted to spurring energetic dialog in regards to the West. He’s the Raphael Moses Professor of Pure Sources Legislation on the College of Colorado Legislation College, and he and Alexander Hood are representing Roger Hill, professional bono.

Lawmakers revise bill so journalists will be allowed in public spaces


Media, which can nonetheless be restricted on home flooring, advocated for creation of a Capitol Press Corps at Utah statehouse.

On this March 2, 2015 photograph, Home of Representatives Majority Chief James A. Dunnigan R-Taylorsville, proper, huddles with then-Majority Assistant Whip, Brad R. Wilson R-Kaysville in Salt Lake Metropolis.

The Home Guidelines Committee on Monday unanimously voted in favor of a guidelines change that may restrict media entry to lawmakers on the Home of Representatives flooring.

HR2 would require credentialed journalists to hunt approval of the Home of Representatives speaker or speaker’s designee earlier than getting into the Home flooring to interview a lawmaker.

The invoice, sponsored by state Rep. James Dunnigan, R-Taylorsville, initially sought to require journalists to get the permission of the Home of Representatives speaker to enter Home committee rooms, that are public areas. The substitute invoice filed on Sunday evening and introduced to lawmakers on Monday morning strikes that measure.

“I attempted to collect some enter from the media on this decision and the decision is modified primarily based on that medium, a number of the enter and a number of the data they supplied and issues they identified,” Dunnigan mentioned.

The measure is sort of an identical to a guidelines decision accepted by Utah Senate Republicans this month. State Sen. Mike McKell, R-Spanish Fork, who sponsored that laws, beforehand mentioned the measure would set up clear guidelines over media entry.

Below the home decision, journalists would nonetheless want the permission of a committee chair to face behind the committee room dais throughout a gathering. Photographers and videographers usually stand behind the rostrum in committee rooms to seize footage of a lawmaker or witness testifying for or towards a invoice.

“The permission might be verbal, it could possibly be digital, it could possibly be thumbs-up,” Dunnigan mentioned. “They simply must have the chairman’s permission so the chairman can nonetheless handle the committee.”

Renae Cowley a consultant of the Utah Medial Coalition, advisable the creation of a Capitol Press Corps group that may symbolize the Capitol Preservation Board, legislative leaders from the Home and Senate and reporters.

“We would love to work together with your physique on making a Utah press corps,” Cowley mentioned. “It does supply the media and members of the press the chance to be part of a number of the selections made relating to their observe and their occupation.”

Dunnigan mentioned he favored the concept of building a Capitol Press Corps group.

“I really like the idea of getting some from Home and Senate, the media, the Capitol Preservation Board and having dialogue on this,” he mentioned.

Ben Winslow, a FOX13 reporter, mentioned he had “sensible issues” about asking a committee chair if a videographer or photographer may arrange their tools in the midst of a committee assembly.

“Do I stand within the again and leap up and down and lift my palms to attempt to get consideration?” he mentioned. ” Clearly, the purpose of stories media entry to the committee room or the Home flooring is to behave because the eyes and ears for the general public, exhibiting folks every day what their elected officers are doing.”

Winslow additionally advocated for establishing a Capitol Press Corps group to deal with the press credentialing course of on the state Capitol and different points that come up.

Dunnigan’s guidelines decision now heads to the Home and requires two-thirds approval in that chamber to move.

Lawmakers revise bill so journalists will be allowed in public spaces


The Home Guidelines Committee on Monday unanimously voted in favor of a guidelines change that may restrict media entry to lawmakers on the Home of Representatives ground.

HR2 would require credentialed journalists to hunt approval of the Home of Representatives speaker or speaker’s designee earlier than getting into the Home ground to interview a lawmaker.

The invoice, sponsored by state Rep. James Dunnigan, R-Taylorsville, initially sought to require journalists to get the permission of the Home of Representatives speaker to enter Home committee rooms, that are public areas. The substitute invoice filed on Sunday evening and introduced to lawmakers on Monday morning strikes that measure.

“I attempted to collect some enter from the media on this decision and the decision is modified based mostly on that medium, a few of the enter and a few of the info they supplied and issues they identified,” Dunnigan mentioned.

The measure is almost similar to a guidelines decision accepted by Utah Senate Republicans this month. State Sen. Mike McKell, R-Spanish Fork, who sponsored that laws, beforehand mentioned the measure would set up clear guidelines over media entry.

Below the home decision, journalists would nonetheless want the permission of a committee chair to face behind the committee room dais throughout a gathering. Photographers and videographers usually stand behind the rostrum in committee rooms to seize footage of a lawmaker or witness testifying for or towards a invoice.

“The permission may be verbal, it may very well be digital, it may very well be thumbs-up,” Dunnigan mentioned. “They simply must have the chairman’s permission so the chairman can nonetheless handle the committee.”

Renae Cowley a consultant of the Utah Medial Coalition, beneficial the creation of a Capitol Press Corps group that may signify the Capitol Preservation Board, legislative leaders from the Home and Senate and reporters.

“We would love to work together with your physique on making a Utah press corps,” Cowley mentioned. “It does supply the media and members of the press the chance to be part of a few of the choices made concerning their apply and their occupation.”

Dunnigan mentioned he favored the thought of creating a Capitol Press Corps group.

“I like the idea of getting some from Home and Senate, the media, the Capitol Preservation Board and having dialogue on this,” he mentioned.

Ben Winslow, a FOX13 reporter, mentioned he had “sensible issues” about asking a committee chair if a videographer or photographer might arrange their gear in the midst of a committee assembly.

“Do I stand within the again and bounce up and down and lift my palms to attempt to get consideration?” he mentioned. ” Clearly, the purpose of stories media entry to the committee room or the Home ground is to behave because the eyes and ears for the general public, exhibiting individuals every day what their elected officers are doing.”

Winslow additionally advocated for establishing a Capitol Press Corps group to deal with the press credentialing course of on the state Capitol and different points that come up.

Dunnigan’s guidelines decision now heads to the Home and requires two-thirds approval in that chamber to cross.

Afghan public universities reopen with gender segregated classes | Women’s Rights News


Afghanistan’s major universities have reopened six months after the Taliban returned to energy, however solely a trickle of girls have returned to now-segregated courses.

Most secondary faculties for women and all public universities have been shuttered following the Taliban’s August 15 takeover, sparking fears ladies can be barred from schooling – as occurred in the course of the first rule of the Taliban, from 1996-2001.

The Taliban insist they are going to permit women and girls to be educated this time round – however solely in segregated courses and in line with an Islamic curriculum. The courses for female and male college students will likely be performed at completely different occasions, in line with the ToloNews.

“I’m glad that the college resumed … we wish to proceed our research,” mentioned an English main who requested to be recognized solely as Basira.

However she mentioned there was a scarcity of lecturers, including, “Perhaps as a result of some have left the nation.”

Tens of hundreds of Afghans left the nation, amongst them academics, after the collapse of the West-backed authorities of Prime Minister Ashraf Ghani following the march of Taliban fighters on the capital Kabul in mid-August.

 

Some public tertiary establishments within the south of the nation resumed final month, however on Saturday Kabul College, the oldest and largest with a scholar physique of about 25,000 final yr, re-opened with out fanfare – and few college students in attendance.

At the very least 19 universities and academic institutes have been reopened, reported the Kabul-based ToloNews quoting the Ministry of Increased Training.

Basira mentioned there have been “some difficulties” – together with college students being scolded by Taliban guards for bringing their cell phones to class.

“They didn’t behave effectively with us … they have been impolite,” she mentioned.

One other English scholar, Maryam, mentioned solely seven ladies attended her class.

“Earlier than we have been 56 college students, girls and boys,” she mentioned.

Taliban guards refused journalists entry to the sprawling campus and didn’t permit media groups to linger close to the doorway.

Students walk along the courtyard of the Badakshan UniversityCollege students stroll alongside the courtyard at Badakshan College in Faizabad after Afghanistan’s major universities re-opened [Omer Abrar/AFP]

No college students in Panjshir

The same image emerged from campuses throughout the nation, though no college students returned to class at Panjshir College.

“I have no idea if they are going to come tomorrow, or the day after tomorrow, or not,” mentioned Professor Noor-ur-Rehman Afzali.

Panjshir was the final province to fall to the Taliban final yr, and Jaber Jibran, a school head, mentioned a number of school rooms destroyed in that combating had nonetheless not been repaired.

The Taliban have mentioned beforehand that ladies college students should put on a black abaya over their our bodies and hijab on their heads, however stopped wanting insisting on the all-covering burqa that was obligatory throughout their earlier rule.

A number of college students, nevertheless, appeared dressed no in another way Saturday than they might have earlier than the Taliban takeover, with a easy scarf masking their heads.

“I’ve by no means worn any hijab earlier than … it’s new for me,” mentioned Sohaila Rostami, a biology scholar in her final semester at Bamiyam College.

“I used to put on denims and different regular garments. It will likely be troublesome for me to look at hijab,” she advised AFP.

Afghan female students walk towards their university in KabulAfghan college students stroll in direction of their college in Kabul, Afghanistan [Hussein Malla/AP Photo]

In Herat, the traditional Silk Highway metropolis close to the Iranian border and as soon as one of many Islamic world’s most essential mental centres, college students additionally complained a few lack of tutors.

“A few of our professors have additionally left the nation, however we’re glad that the college gates are open,” mentioned Parisa Narwan, finding out arts.

In Kabul, scholar Haseenat mentioned campus life for girls was now very completely different to earlier than.

“We’re advised to not exit of our courses,” she advised AFP.

“There isn’t any cafeteria any extra … we’re not allowed to go to the college’s courtyard.”

No nation has but recognised the brand new Taliban regime, which has imposed a number of restrictions on ladies – together with banning them from many authorities jobs.

Western sanctions and the freezing of Kabul’s belongings value billions of {dollars} within the wake of Taliban seize have pushed Afghanistan’s economic system in direction of close to collapse. The UN has warned of an impending humanitarian catastrophe with greater than half of the nation’s inhabitants going through meals insecurity.