Public Policy – November Update

Thursday, November 20th, 2014










Public Policy – November Update

As the “Voice of Business” and Utah’s statewide Chamber, the Salt Lake Chamber leads out on critical issues that impact Utah businesses and our community. In the coming weeks, here is how we plan to “move the dial” to grow our economy, promote community prosperity and champion business in Utah, as well as ways for you to participate for the month of October and beyond.

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Public Policy 

With the holidays upon us, The Salt Lake Chamber’s policy team is working to finalize 2015 policy positions for review by the Executive Board. As the “Voice of Business” and Utah’s largest and oldest business association, the Salt Lake Chamber is a leader on critical issues that impact Utah businesses and our community. In the coming weeks, this is how we plan to contribute and grow our economy, promote community prosperity and champion business in Utah, as well as opportunities for you to participate in the chamber for the month of November and beyond.

The Salt Lake Chamber’s executive board will be reviewing and approving the 2015 policy positions in for the 2015 Public Policy Guide. The public policy guide is published annually and serves as the platform for the business community’s priorities for the upcoming legislative session, desired action in Washington and other key community issues. You can find the 2014 Public Policy Guide here.

If you have any questions or comments, please reach out to Michael Merrill at (801) 328-5068 or

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2015 Legislative Reception

The Salt Lake Chamber’s annual Legislative Reception will take place on February 4, 2015. The Legislative Reception is a unique opportunity to interact with policymakers, business leaders, and select guests including Gov. Gary Herbert, members of the Utah State Legislature and other local officials during the 2014 General Legislative Session. The event had over 400 attendees last year and is a must attend for Utah’s top policy and business professionals and is a unique high-profile sponsorship opportunity during the heat of the legislative session.

If you have any questions or comments, please reach out to Michael Merrill at (801) 328-5068 or

Prosperity 2020: Business Community Sets 5-Year Plan for Education

On October 28, Prosperity 2020 and Education First co-hosted the Academic Excellence (AXL)conference to focus discussion on key drivers to elevate performance in education and debut a five-year plan to elevate Utah into the top ten states for education. Over two hundred and fifty education, government, business and community leaders, as well as parents, and the media attended the conference to hear Prosperity Through Education: the Innovation Accountability and Investment Plan for Utah’s Future.

The plan is a result of extensive collaboration and provides a framework to move Utah forward in reading, math, high school completion and post-high school certificates and degrees. Read the plan and take action in support of education in Utah, by visiting

Please contact Allyson Bell at or Jana Scott for information.

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Utah Transportation Coalition: A better Utah down the road

The past week the Utah Transportation Coalition unveiled their statewide public education campaign to communicate the need for increased transportation infrastructure investment. David Golden, Chair of Utah Transportation Coalition, was joined by legislative, business and community leaders in Farmington to launch the coalition’s new campaign. In Addition David Golden addressed the Transportation Interim Committee this past week about the efforts to educate the community on long term transportation funding needs. For further information on the campaign visit The next Transportation Executive Committee meeting will be held December 11.

For more details visit or contact Michael Merrill at (801) 328-5068 or

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Natural Resources Business Council

The month, the Natural Resource Business council reviewed the respective priorities for natural resources and the environmental issues for the Salt Lake Chamber’s 2015 public policy guide. In addition, the council discussed new initiatives in the energy community with the launch of a new website that offers information on alternative fuel vehicles and an increase on K-12 education about energy. Expect more updates from the council in the upcoming weeks. The next Natural Resource Business Council meeting will be held December10.

If you have any questions or comments, please reach out to Michael Merrill at (801) 328-5068 or

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Clean Air: 4th Annual Clean Air Summit Scheduled for Early December

The Clean Air Task Force will host the fourth annual Clean Air Summit “The Business Case for Clean Air” on December 4th.  The Summit will address impacts of air quality on our economy, benefits of clean air quality, what your company can do to be part of the solution, and the resources available to help your business make a difference. The Summit will feature speakers that will direct attention to the most important clean air issues facing Utah today. Registration is currently open for the event.

If you have any questions or comments, please reach out to Ryan Evans at (801) 328-5063 or

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Energy and Minerals

The Energy Minerals Task Force returned from a successful Fall Energy Excursion to southeast Utah in late October. The Fall Energy Excursion was co-hosted by the Governor’s Office of Energy Development and allowed attendees to see key energy developments, infrastructure and connect with rural communities. The group had the opportunity to tour the Hunter Power Plant, as well a coal mine Emery County’s and discuss balanced development in Moab. We want to thank Kiewit, Rocky Mountain Power, the Moab Chamber of Commerce, and all the site visit hosts and speakers for their support. The Chamber plans to host another energy excursion to explore other areas of Utah in the upcoming future.

If you have any questions or comments, please reach out to Michael Merrill at (801) 328-5068 or

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President Barack Obama has appointed Holland & Hart Partner Jody Williams as Commissioner of the Bear River Commission. The Bear River Commission was created in 1958 pursuant to the Bear River Compact among the states of Idaho, Utah and Wyoming. The Commission comprises nine gubernatorial appointed Commissioners and one Federal Commissioner appointed by the President, who serves as its Chair. Jody is active member and key supporter the Salt Lake Chamber’s Utah | Water is Your Business Initiative. The next water task force also met this month to review the 2015 Public Policy guide, discuss partnerships and work on the 2015 strategic work plan. The next task force meeting is the December 10th Natural Resources Business Council meeting.

If you have any questions or comments, please reach out to Michael Merrill at (801) 328-5068 or

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Outdoor Recreation & Tourism

The Chamber remains actively engaged in key issues related to outdoor recreation and tourism including the Mountain Accord process. We are also a active support of the Utah Office of Outdoor recreation which just announced the dates for the 2015 Utah Outdoor Recreation Summit on Tuesday, March 3, 2015.

This summit is an inspiring and insightful statewide initiative planned in conjunction with the outdoor industry, counties, communities, user groups, and state and federal land management agencies.

The 2014 Outdoor Recreation Summit was a tremendous success with more than 400 outdoor industry leaders, county and city officials and user groups gathered, with state and federal land management agencies, to actively discuss issues surrounding Utah’s outdoor recreation.

Please contact Tara McKee at the Utah Office of Outdoor Recreation at (801) 538-8686 or

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Health System Reform

The Health System Reform Task Force met and discussed further information regarding Governor Herbert’s Healthy Utah Plan and had a conference call update from Katie Mahoney, Executive Director, Health Policy U.S. Chamber of Commerce on federal health care issues and Utah’s impact. Ms. Mahoney discussed the likelihood of repealing the ASA as reported by some members of Utah’s congressional delegation following the election and Senate majority shift. She was optimistic regarding a repeal of the medical device tax. She also talked with business leaders about the impending 2016 impacts of the definition of “small group markets” being redefined as 50 to 100 in 2016 and how that may impact Chamber members.

The next Health System Reform Task Force will meet December 18, 2014 and will have Patt Richard, President & CEO, SelectHealth discuss autism.

If you have any other questions or comments, please reach out to Justin Jones at (801) 558-9371 or

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Utah Business Leaders Reveal a Collaborative Five-year Plan to make Utah a Top Ten State in Education

Tuesday, October 28th, 2014

Plan focuses on reversing Utah’s downward trend in reading, math, high school completion and college degrees to ensure the state’s quality of life


Business and community leaders unveiled a five-year plan to elevate Utah into the top ten in U.S. educational systems, at an Academic Excellence conference held at the Grand America Hotel, Tuesday, Oct. 28. Business, education and opinion leaders collaborated on the plan that provides a framework to move Utah forward in reading, math, high school completion and post-high school certificates and degrees.

“Across America, the most vibrant economies put education first, and this five year plan is a big step in that direction in Utah,” said Richard Kendell, former commissioner of Higher Education and Education First board member. “Countless research shows that a person’s earning power and the economic strength of communities are directly tied to academic achievement. Consequently, our children’s education is critical for creating a legacy of prosperity for Utah.”

Utah’s education system is in on a downward trend according to some of Utah’s key academic metrics highlighted at the conference. For example, Utah’s standardized test scores have not fallen, but peer states have innovated and left Utah behind. Utah’s fourth grade students ranked 22nd in the national in math and reading, and eighth grade students ranked 27th in math and 13th in reading.

The plan, derived from extensive collaboration with educators and policymakers, includes the following goals to raise Utah to the top ten in five years:

1) Improve 4th and 8th grade math performance with technology devises, technology-based math assessment tools, endorsements and technology training for teachers, professional learning communities and STEM endorsements for teachers.

2) Improve 4th and 8th grade reading performance with K-3 reading curriculum, professional learning communities, voluntary pre-school, community schools, support for at-risk students and optional full-day kindergarten

3) Increase High School graduation rates with additional counselors and mentors, counselor training, student advocates, academic couches and tutors

4) Increase post-secondary certifications and degrees with rewards for colleges that increase completion rates; access and outreach initiatives for underserved students; programs that meet high-wage, high demand workforce needs; financial aid and scholarships for lower and middle income students

Governor Gary Herbert, businesswoman Gail Miller, and Salt Lake Chamber President and CEO Lane Beattie voiced their support for education. Data show that young people who graduate high school and go on to achieve degrees and certifications, are more likely to become leaders, innovators and achievers, and are better prepared to support the growth of crucial business sectors including technology, science, health and medicine. Utah is globally recognized for its pro-business climate and remarkable economic recovery in recent years, but there is room for improvement. Much of Utah’s forecasted job growth is for low-wage jobs, Utah’s GDP has grown, but only modestly; Utah’s household income has stalled for the last 15 years; and of the state’s 20 largest employers, most are government and only four are private sector companies.

“In order to continue to be an economic powerhouse, Utah needs to make strategic investments and reforms,” said Beattie. “That is why we’re making the education of Utah’s children a top priority, by developing this five-year plan.”

The plan calls for an investment in education of $672.5 million over five years, which is described as affordable by collaborators.

The conference also featured compelling success stories by Utah and out-of-state educators who have innovated to boost academic achievement. Sara Krebs, M. Ed., Literacy Coordinator for Cache County School District, described the impact working in small groups can have in helping children achieve reading proficiency rates 10-20 points higher than the state. Gina Butters, principal of Roy High School spoke of the collaborative effort of elementary, junior high and high school staff to help more students graduate from high school. Melissa Miller Kincart, assistant commissioner for outreach access in the Utah System of Higher Ed, described the state’s innovative and nationally-recognized approach to training school counselors to better prepare students for college. David Pattinson, founder and CEO of David Pattinson’s American Future, a non-profit focused on developing solutions to youth unemployment, described his innovations to improve the career planning and development process for youth. And, Eric Hanushek, the Paul and Jean Hanna Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institute of Stanford University spoke, of his numerous, highly-cited studies on the effects of class size reduction, high-stakes accountability, value-added assessments of teacher quality and other education-related topics.

Alan Hall, chair of Prosperity 2020 summed up the day by saying, “This conference and five-year plan are a starting point for moving Utah’s academic achievement forward. The plan is a work in progress, and we welcome business owners, elected officials, educators and parents to get the plan, get involved, and get behind this movement to take Utah’s education system to the next level. We cannot be complacent. Our children and our children’s children deserve the very best.”

To read the plan and see video and written highlights of the conference, visit To keep up to date on the top ten education movement, follow #UTED2Top10 and @Education1stUT on Twitter.


Public Policy – October Update

Monday, October 27th, 2014










Public Policy – October Update

As the “Voice of Business” and Utah’s statewide Chamber, the Salt Lake Chamber leads out on critical issues that impact Utah businesses and our community. In the coming weeks, here is how we plan to “move the dial” to grow our economy, promote community prosperity and champion business in Utah, as well as ways for you to participate for the month of October and beyond.

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Public Policy 

Natalie Gochnour, Associate Dean in the David Eccles School of Business at the University of Utah and chief economist for the Salt Lake Chamber, addresses the Utah state budget in her article published on October 3 in the Deseret News. The Salt Lake Chamber will be working over the next few months with key partners, legislators and the Governor’s office to address Utah’s big three — education, transportation and water — which all have significant needs. A growing economy requires investment in human and physical capital. As a high-growth state, Utah must provide Utah’s workforce with the skills of the 21st century and constantly maintain and invest in roads, pipelines and other infrastructure. It costs a lot of money to stay in front of the curve.

In addition, the Salt Lake Chamber’s executive board will be reviewing and approving the 2015 policy positions in the coming months. The public policy guide serves as the platform for the business community’s priorities for the upcoming legislative session, desired action in Washington and other key community issues. You can find the 2014 Public Policy Guide here.

If you have any questions or comments, please reach out to Michael Merrill at (801) 328-5068 or

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Energy and MineralsFall Energy Trip (Oct. 21-22) 

The next Energy Mineral Task Force meeting will be held November 12th from 8:00 to 9:00 a.m.

Last week the Salt Lake Chamber and Utah Office of Energy participated in the 2014 Fall Energy Excursion into Utah’s coal country and southeastern energy producing counties. The one-night, two-day excursion built on the success of previous excursions to the Uinta Basin (Fall 2013) and Milford/Beaver (Spring 2014). A report of this successful trip will be at the upcoming Task Force meeting.

If you have any questions or comments, please reach out to Michael Merrill at (801) 328-5068 or

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Prosperity 2020

On Tuesday, October 28, Prosperity 2020 and Education First will announce a 5-year plan to take Utah’s education to the top ten by 2020. The plan is the result of collaboration over the past few years with education stakeholders and will serve as a starting point for a long-term state plan to improve education outcomes in Utah.

Key drivers of performance have been identified in discussions at the Governor’s Commission on Educational Excellence, the Legislative Education Task Force chaired by Senate and House leadership, Legislative education committees, in focus groups with superintendents, principals, teachers and others, and elsewhere.

The plan will be announced publicly at the AcademicXL conference to a select group of 300 leaders in education, government, businesses and parents. Details will be shared through social media throughout the morning.

Review the plan and sign up to support education by following Tune in on October 28, 8:30 a.m. to noon to follow the discussion.

Please contact Allyson Bell at or Jana Scott for information.

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Natural Resources Business Council

The Natural Resource Business Council represents an inclusive approach to multiple sectors of Utah’s economy. The Council is the guiding body for the water, energy and minerals, and outdoor recreation and tourism task forces.

Every other month, we meet as a group of four-task forces and then in the off months each task force meets independently. This not only drives unity, but helps the Chamber maximize its staff resources and alleviate conflicts and silos.

If you have any questions or comments, please reach out to Michael Merrill at (801) 328-5068 or 

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Clean Air: 4th Annual Clean Air Summit Scheduled for Early December

The Next Clean Air Task Force meeting will be held November 4th.

This month the Clean Air Task Force met with the Natural Resources Business Council to discuss Envision Utah’s Clean Air Action Team Policy recommendations. The recommendations include actions related to Tier 3 fuels and vehicles, addressing wood burning, investing in public and active transportation, adopting a rule to require supplies to sell only ultra-low NOx water heaters and adjusting new building codes to promote energy efficiency. The Chamber is currently in support of several recommendations, but is not endorsing or adopting all the recommendations at this time. In addition, the Clean Air Task Force heard from Representative Becky Edwards to discuss legislation regarding the state’s air quality regulatory powers. Additionally, the Task Force will begin work on the second Inversion Mitigation Effort, through which we encourage the business community to do what they can to reduce emissions during our winter inversion season.  The Task Force will continue to develop an agenda for the 4th Annual Clean Air Summit scheduled for December 4, 2014.

If you have any questions or comments, please reach out to Ryan Evans at (801) 328-5063 or

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Water: Water Task Force

The next Water Task Force meeting will be held November 20th.

Natalie Gochnour, Associate Dean in the David Eccles School of Business at the University of Utah and chief economist for the Salt Lake Chamber, spoke at the Utah Water Law Conference about the future of Utah. The conference included keynote speakers Tage Flint, CEO of Weber Basin Water Conservancy District and Warren H. Peterson Vice President of Farmland Reserve. Water conservation remains a critical issue for the state. As we enter the 2015 legislative session it is important to make water a continual priority.

If you have any questions or comments, please reach out to Michael Merrill at (801) 328-5068 or

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Outdoor Recreation & Tourism

The Outdoor Recreation Office has been working on new policy initiatives. The first concerns HB 133, which established priorities for opening and maintaining Utah’s national monuments, national forests and national recreation areas during fiscal emergencies. The second initiative is to advocate new legislation to fund backcountry rescues. New legislation would establish a secondary source of funding for the existing search and rescue programs. Additonally, a voluntary search and rescue card could be purchased by individuals or families. Utah has suffered heavy financial burdens from search and rescue assignments and the SAR cards would provide an insurance against costs of rescue within the state. Colorado and New Hampshire have implemented similar programs. It is important to continue to promote best practices to help overcome issues within the outdoor recreation industry.

If you have any questions or comments, please reach out to Jesse Dean at (801) 328-5045 or

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Utah Transportation Coalition: Unified Plan Needs a Unified Front to Fund Transportation

The Utah Transportation Coalition will be holding their next executive committee meeting on November 13th.

Later this fall the Utah Transportation Coalition will be unveiling their public education campaign to communicate the value of transportation in local business communities. Last week the Utah Transportation Coalition hosted a roundtable discussion with former New York City Transportation Commissioner, Janette Sadik-Kahn, at the Salt Lake City Chamber. We’re excited to announce that the Utah Transportation Coalition Chairman, David R. Golden, was invited to speak at a Colorado Transportation Summit at request of the Colorado Department of Transportation. In addition, H. David Burton has stepped down as co-chair of the Utah Transportation Coalition because of his recent appointment as Chair of Utah Transit Authority; we deeply appreciate H. David Burton’s leadership and contributions to the coalition during his role as chair.

For more details visit or contact Michael Merrill at (801) 328-5068 or 

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Downtown Alliance: Downtown Still Rising

Downtown property owners met with Salt Lake City planning staff to discuss the Downtown Master Plan after it received a favorable recommendation for the Salt Lake City Planning Commission. The Master Plan is intended to be a 25-year vision and implementation plan that will guide future growth and development downtown. Property owners voiced several concerns to the city over the regulatory nature of some of the visioning principle,s as well as the lack of a cohesive economic development strategy that will help to define downtown’s future as the regional center for culture, commerce and entertainment. The plan and its subsequent recommendations from the business community, are set to be reviewed before being adopted by the Salt Lake City Council in November.

For more information on the Downtown Master Plan, please visit If you are interested in learning more please contact Director of Urban Development, Jesse Dean, at

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Health System Reform 

The next Health System Reform Task Force meeting will be held November 20th.

The Health System Reform Task Force hosted a casual breakfast discussion with 4th District Congressional Candidates Mia Love (R) and Doug Owens (D). Both candidates addressed their views on implementation of the Affordable Care Act, Immigration Reform Efforts, Federal Transportation Efforts and Federal Regulations. Expect more updates from the Task Force in the upcoming weeks. In the most recent meeting, the Health Systems Reform Task force addressed Governor Herbert’s Healthy Utah report. The Governor has decided to not call a special session for the plan, and instead wait for the legislature to address it in the upcoming 2015 session. An article about the Governor’s plan can be seen here.

If you have any other questions or comments, please reach out to Justin Jones at (801) 558-9371 or

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International: Utah Global Forum

World Trade Center Utah is hosting Rural Utah International Business Forum on November 3rd from 11:30 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. in Vernal. The Forum will discuss opportunities for rural businesses to participate in the global economy and the process for international expansion and exporting. Registration is free, but is limited to 90 attendees. Register online here.

For questions regarding the Utah Global Forum please visit:

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A Proposed Plan of Action for Education in Utah

Thursday, October 23rd, 2014

On Tuesday, Oct. 28, Prosperity 2020 and Education First will announce the 5-year plan to take Utah’s education levels back to being in the top ten.

Utah has a robust pro-business climate that has rebounded nicely from the recession, and that is recognized nationally by multiple authorities. Yet the overall health of Utah’s economy still shows signs of weakness that, if not addressed, spell trouble for Utah’s ability to sustain long-term prosperity for Utah’s communities and families. The good news is that virtually every one of these ailments can be remedied through targeted investments in education, investments that will produce a tremendous economic return as they increase both K-12 and post-secondary achievement for Utah residents.

Did you know that Utah no longer ranks as high as it once did in key educational metrics such as third grade reading and math? The plan being presented to the Governor and Legislator will be a turning point for Utah’s falling trend of educational performance. It is the result of collaboration over the past four years with business leaders and education stakeholders statewide and will serve as a starting point for a long-term state plan to energize education.

Across America today, the most vibrant, economically healthy cities and states are those with the highest numbers of college graduates, while those on economic life support encompass substantially smaller populations of adults with postsecondary credentials. Recent research by Stanford economics professor Rebecca Diamond found that economic regions producing large numbers of college graduates attract high-skill, high-wage jobs, that then attract even more college graduates, lifestyle amenities, and high-wage employment in an escalating pattern that rapidly builds the region’s quality of life. Of course, the reverse is also true; those regions that fail to prioritize high levels of college completion face an economic death spiral of low educational attainment, loss of jobs and personal income, housing blight, and urban decay.

The plan will be announced publicly at the Academic XL Conference of over 300 leaders in education, government, business and to parents from across the state.

To learn more, visit and Leave your comments and sign up to support education in Utah. We need your input on this plan! During the conference you can follow the conversation by following #UTED2Top10 from 8:30 to noon.


Communities Report Progress at Annual Wasatch Choice for 2040 Consortium

Thursday, October 23rd, 2014

Long-term planning continues with statewide “Your Utah. Your Future.” initiative

Thursday, October 23, hundreds of community leaders will gather for the Wasatch Choice for 2040 Consortium meeting to highlight planning efforts and provide a progress update on six large-scale improvement projects fulfilling the Wasatch Choice for 2040 Vision to create more livable communities throughout the state.

Featured projects are currently underway in American Fork, Draper, Ogden, Provo, Salt Lake City and South Salt Lake. The development and planning of these projects utilized the principles espoused by the Wasatch Choice for 2040 Vision and the tools created by the effort that were released last year. These tools allow cities to test planning scenarios and help them implement their plans as they relate to the regional vision. The Consortium meeting will also highlight the recently launched “Your Utah. Your Future.” initiative, which will take a multi-generational look at the top issues facing the state.

The Wasatch Choice for 2040 Consortium meeting will include more than 450 elected officials, planners, engineers, business and community leaders whose purpose is to create a better plan for the state’s future. This event will be held at the Salt Palace Convention Center and interviews with Wasatch Front Regional Council Executive Director Andrew Gruber, Provo Mayor John Curtis, American Fork Mayor James H. Hadfield  and Draper Mayor Troy K. Walker will take place.


The Wasatch Choice for 2040 Consortium—comprised of the American Planning Association, Envision Utah, the Mountainland Association of Governments, Salt Lake City, Salt Lake County, the University of Utah, the Utah Department of Transportation, the Utah Transit Authority, the Wasatch Front Regional Council and many other public and private partners came together to develop tools and implement the Wasatch Choice for 2040 Vision. The annual Consortium provides an opportunity to continue a collaborative approach to shaping the region’s future.

Utah Broadband Project Releases Statewide Broadband Plan

Friday, October 17th, 2014

Plan focuses on leveraging, enhancing and strengthening state’s broadband infrastructure

Wednesday, October 8, the Utah Broadband Project released the Utah Broadband Plan, which details strategies and key initiatives to help increase broadband deployment, adoption and connectivity throughout the State of Utah.

“In upcoming years, broadband access will become increasingly more important,” said Kelleigh Cole, manager of the Utah Broadband Project. “This plan outlines strategic goals and initiatives to help Utah continue to be a nationwide leader in broadband deployment and adoption, and most importantly drive economic development. ”

The plan highlights nine strategies to strengthen Utah’s economy through broadband development. It focuses on using broadband technologies to support economic development, education, transportation, public safety and other key sectors by teaching best practices to local governments and better connecting rural Utah to the global economy.

Specifically, these initiatives include developing the nation’s first commercial broadband map, working with partners to connect Utah’s remaining schools and libraries to broadband networks, encouraging broadband deployment best practices, teaching urban and rural communities businesses strategies to leverage broadband deployment and continuing strategic partnerships, particularly the Utah Broadband Advisory Council.

“Utah is already a leader in economic growth because of its commitment to broadband,” said Val Hale, executive director of the Governor’s Office of Economic Development. “As the economy continues to shift online, broadband must continue to be a priority to maintain our economic growth and preserve our recognition as one of the best states for business and careers.”

The Utah Broadband Plan is the culmination of a five-year process which included the development of seven regional broadband teams, analysis on broadband adoption trends and soliciting the feedback of stakeholders across Utah. The Utah Broadband Project will be working with the Governor’s Office of Economic Development, the Utah Broadband Advisory Council and other key stakeholders to determine the appropriate implementation process for the plan.

A full version of the plan can be found at the Utah Broadband Project’s website at

About the Utah Broadband Project


The Utah Broadband Project is a joint effort between the Governor’s Office of Economic Development, the Public Service Commission (PSC), and the Department of Technology Services’ Automated Geographic Reference Center (AGRC) to develop a statewide map of available broadband services and a plan to increase broadband adoption and deployment in Utah. The Project maintains Utah’s interactive broadband availability map, and works with broadband providers to gather and verify data twice each year. The Utah Broadband Project has won several awards, including a 2011 GovMark Council Award and the 2011 January Achievement Award from the Utah Product Management Council.

About the Utah Governor’s Office of Economic Development


The Governor’s Office of Economic Development charter is based on Governor Gary Herbert’s commitment to economic development statewide. The mandate for this office is to provide rich business resources for the creation, growth and recruitment of companies to Utah and to increase tourism and film production in the state. GOED accomplishes this mission through the administration of programs that are based around targeted industries or “economic clusters” that demonstrate the best potential for development. GOED utilizes state resources and private sector contracts to fulfill its mission. For more information please contact: Michael Sullivan, 801-538-8811 or


Be Part of the Mountain Accord Initiative

Wednesday, October 15th, 2014

We need your help in shaping the future of the Central Wasatch Mountains with the Mountain Accord initiative!

Mountain Accord had over 130 people attend the public meeting in Park City Monday, October 13. However, we need to up our efforts to get Salt Lake Valley residents engaged.

Mountain Accord is a multi-phase initiative that seeks to make critical decisions regarding the future of the central Wasatch Mountains. It will holistically evaluate and address issues and goals centered on four topic areas: environment, recreation, transportation, and economy.

Mountain Accord is a collaboration between public and private interests, including state and local governments, federal agencies, and business and grassroots organizations. Public involvement is an important component of this effort, and input received from the public will be used to inform and guide the process.

Few places in the world have a natural asset as valuable as the Central Wasatch Mountains are to the communities surrounding them. The mountains provide us with water, easy access to superb recreational opportunities, landscape-scale habitat protection and they serve as the place-maker for our region.

Visit today to be part of this great effort.

Also, take a look at these recent news releases on Mountain Accord:


Women and the Economy

Monday, October 13th, 2014

Ann Marie Thompson, program director at the Women’s Business Center, spoke during a Women in the Economy Commission meeting at the State Capitol on Monday, September 29, 2014. The article “Commision to highlight women in Utah economy” as previsously published by the Deseret News, says the following:

A newly formed female-only panel is taking aim at issues facing women in Utah’s economic landscape.

The Women in the Economy Commission conducted its second meeting Monday to discuss potential goals for the panel and how it might impact the state’s future economic success.

The 11-member commission was created during the 2014 Legislature by House Minority Leader Jennifer Seelig, D-Salt Lake. Seeling and House Speaker Becky Lockhart, R-Provo, serve as co-chairwomen.

Seelig said the commission’s purpose is to increase public and government understanding of the current and future impacts and needs of the state’s women in the economy.

The commission will also work to determine how those needs may be most effectively and efficiently met, along with identifying and recommending implementation of specific policies, procedures and programs to respond to the rights, needs and impacts of women in the economy.

The panel can also facilitate coordination of the functions of public and private entities concerned with women in the economy.

“We create our institutions, including companies and governments, and then they help create us,” Seelig explained. “Our products are outcomes of who we are as human beings. And part of that contains our hopes, our dreams and our prejudices.”

She noted that since economic systems are “not neutral,” they should be examined to determine how “everybody and participate and contribute.”

Until then, she said, “we’re not going to be able to compete (nationally) or globally.”

Seelig said current economic systems do not take advantage of the full potential and capability of all of the available population, namely women.

“We have an entire human infrastructure and skill set, and we’re not utilizing about half of it,” she said.

While numerous media sources have praised Utah as one of the best economies in the nation, Seelig said that characterization might not be completely accurate.

“It may be one of the best for certain people,” she explained. “If you look at issues related to poverty and wage earnings, we still have a lot to learn.”

For Utah’s entire economy to flourish, the state needs to ”benefit from all the skill sets of all the human infrastructure that we have,” Seelig said. “And right now, we’re really not.”

Among the other issues of interest of the panel are helping women make advances in the state’s burgeoning business economy, explained Ann Marie Thompson, program director of the Salt Lake Chamber Women’s Business Center.

“It is definitely one of our goals to be able to advance women in their own spheres, and one of them is as business owners,” Thompson said.

Education will be a key to helping women make greater gains and creating opportunities for growth and prosperity moving forward, she said.

“(As a commission), we are really trying to figure out what the problems are, how we’re measuring them, and what kind of partners we might need to better understand the needs of our women,” Thompson explained.

Learning best practices and solutions to the pervasive problems that exist are also important objectives of the panel, she added.

Thompson said addressing the issues of access to capital for women entrepreneurs and the wage gap for women in the workplace are also key concerns.

“Women are not aware that their (male) contemporaries are paying themselves a little bit more,” she said.

Women in the Economy Commission members:

House Minority Leader Jennifer Seelig, D-Salt Lake, co-chairwoman

House Speaker Becky Lockhart, R-Provo, co-chairwoman

Sen. Deidre Henderson, R-Spanish Fork

Sen. Luz Robles, D-Salt Lake

Carrie Mayne, Utah Department of Workforce Services

Ann Marie Thompson, Salt Lake Chamber

Trina Eyring, Zions Bank

Jennifer Robinson, University of Utah’s Center for Public Policy

Anne Burkholder, YWCA

Judy Barnett, AFL-CIO

Heather Barnum, HDR Engineering

Transportation For America – Local Successes

Thursday, October 9th, 2014


Utah’s commitment to disciplined planning and investment was featured as a “can-do” region this month by Transportation For America, an alliance of elected, business and civic leaders from communities across the country, united to ensure that states and the federal government step up to invest in smart, homegrown, locally-driven transportation solutions — because these are the investments that hold the key to our future economic prosperity.

While Utah’s success stories in economic development, transportation funding and quality of life are making their rounds around the nation – we still have significant work to be done, especially in transportation. The article highlight’s Utah’s Unified Transportation Plan as a national best practice and a comprehensive approach that provides for positive outcomes beyond transportation. A quality transportation system offers personal benefits to every Utahn, including more time with families, a cleaner environment and better health and Utah’s transportation system is the backbone of our economy. However, Utah’s current funding mechanisms won’t produce enough to cover all of Utah’s needed transportation projects.

The article “Local Successes” in Transportation for America highlights this point. One ongoing challenge for the Utah, specifically the Wasatch Front in particular is geography. How will a growing population maintain a good quality of life in a relatively thin sliver of land?

Utah is the sixth most urban state in the country, with 80 percent of the population residing along the Wasatch Front, a metropolitan region in the north-central part of the state that includes Salt Lake City, Provo, and Ogden. Bordered to the east by the Wasatch Mountain Range and to the west by the Great Salt Lake and Utah Lake, the region provides limited space for its two million residents.

To compound the issues associated with limited space, the Wasatch Front’s population is expected to increase 60 percent by the year 2040, swelling to 3.5 million people.

Residents, planners, business leaders and their elected officials are asking the question: How to accommodate that growth while maintaining the region’s reputation as an economic powerhouse with world-class outdoor recreational opportunities?

Answers to that question began in 1987 with the founding of the Coalition for Utah’s Future. From that coalition grew Envision Utah, a nonprofit organization focused on growth issues around the state. In 1997, Envision Utah launched a two-year research effort focused on the growth along the Wasatch Front. That process engaged approximately 20,000 participants and resulted in the Quality Growth Strategy, a vision for the Wasatch Front that aimed to accommodate growth while conserving more land and water, limiting emissions associated with the region’s air quality challenges and providing more transportation and land use choices to meet market demand.

Along with almost unprecedented citizen participation in the region’s long-range planning efforts through Envision Utah, the region’s business community has also played a leadership role in advocating for additional transportation investment in local and state transportation needs.

“The number one issue ten years ago became the infrastructure,” said Lane Beattie, president and CEO of the Salt Lake City Area Chamber of Commerce.

“We realized right up front from a business community [perspective], that if we let the infrastructure slip in our communities, we would absolutely commit economic suicide,” Beattie added. “It takes so much longer to build yourself out of a problem once you’re in, so we had to address it. The business community stepped up and said we want commuter rail, we want light rail, we want roads.”

David Golden, a banking executive with Wells Fargo and co-chair for Salt Lake Chamber’s transportation initiative the Utah Transportation Coalition, agrees.

“One thing I think we’ve proven is that an investment in transportation pays dividends for our economy and I think the citizens and leadership of our state generally understand that,” he said.

“From a business community perspective, we understand how important this investment is and how beneficial it is. We are a growing state with numerous demands, but I think overall, transportation is a proven winner in this state and one that people are on board with getting behind.”

Golden points to an economic analysis that found a $1.94 gain in gross domestic product for every $1 invested in the Unified Transportation Plan. “That’s a winner,” he said.

Through a lot of consensus-building and the cooperation of the public and private sectors on the Wasatch Front, the region’s leaders have laid the groundwork for economic prosperity for years to come. They’ve cultivated a heritage of leadership in the local business community. They’ve engaged thousands of citizens to think about what kind of place they want the Salt Lake City region to be decades down the road — and they’ve supported the vision with their tax dollars.

“We’ve still got more work to be done in investing for our future growth,” said Beattie. “The secret sauce that got us to this point will need a bit of seasoning to ensure we continue to invest prudently in our infrastructure and prosper as a region for years to come.”

See the full article here:


Flowing Toward 2050: Utah’s Water Outlook

Wednesday, October 1st, 2014

Reposted from the Utah Foundation website:











Utah’s population is projected to grow by 2.5 million people in the next 35 years. The implications of this projected growth are far reaching for state and local agencies and for policy makers. Previous reports in the 2014 population growth series have discussed where growth will occur, who new Utahns will be, and what they will need to continue to have the quality of life that current Utahns enjoy. This report, the third in a four-part series, focuses on the interaction between population growth and future water supply.

Two different viewpoints Diverted Water Useon Utah’s water future exist – that the state currently has enough water for future demands or the state needs to develop multiple projects to ensure continued water sustainability. Increased pressure on the existing system created by projected population growth provides the groundwork for these two viewpoints. For those who believe the current, developed supply is sufficient, increased emphasis on conservation and better water management are key policy strategies. For those who think that population growth will overrun existing current supply in the next 15-20 years, emphasis is placed on development of new supply through large and small-scale projects. Financing of new development and conservation are both important topics, but this report also discusses impacts created by climate as well as conversion of agricultural land and water rights to municipal and industrial uses.

Since Utah is a desert and water is an essential element of sustaining life, discussions on water policy are not going away. This report presents six recommendations for policy strategies or further study in the fields of rate structure, local response, and planning.