BY REBECCA PALMER
BOUNTIFUL — The City Council here reluctantly decided on Tuesday to hand over $15,000 in cash to the Utah Transit Authority for a transportation study, but the semi-private agency isn’t out of hot water.
The split 3-2 vote to offer the cash comes about a year after the council decided against funding its part of the study. At the time, Davis County pitched in extra cash so the study would qualify for federal money.
In the meantime, Bountiful and other South Davis cities such as Centerville had been drawn out of the map being used for the study, according to Bountiful City Manager Gary Hill.
The next day, UTA spokesmen Remi Barron said Bountiful had not been left out of the study.
Councilmember Tom Tolman voted against giving UTA the money.
“I think we need to have a good relationship but this kind of seems like they’re putting pressure on us to give them money, if nothing else,” he said.
Councilmember Fred Moss also opposed the vote.
“They don’t do anything for us,” he said. “They’re cutting routes.”
Moss added that it doesn’t make sense to give UTA money to study future transit options when its not meeting its patrons’ needs now.
UTA denied that it has cut service, and Barron said there are about 7,500 daily trips on buses in the county.
“We are the stepchild,” Moss said. “There’s nothing in the plan to do anything other than take our money and do a study with it.”
There have been at least four studies on transit in south Davis, and none have resulted in concrete plans or projects despite the fact that Davis County has upped its sales tax contributions to UTA by one quarter of a cent on every dollar spent. That brings the total county contribution to slightly more than half a cent per dollar.
The Bountiful Council is still reeling from the South Davis Transit Study completed in 2008, which recommended rail lines and brought out angry residents in droves.
Councilmember Beth Holbrook, a candidate for mayor, voted in favor of providing the new money.
“I think that we need to actually consider playing with them a little on this,” she said. “I think we need to know what they intend to do and how they intend to do it.”
Also voting in favor of the plan were councilmembers Jon Marc Knight and Richard Higginson.