Governor Herbert’s office recently released the Utah Leads Together 3.0, the Governor’s comprehensive task force plan to mitigate the consequences of COVID-19. Among the guidelines and recommendations, a theme of “returning to better” weaves through the entire plan.
Notably in this new plan is a pointed call to action to advance air quality initiatives that revive the economy, outlining a strategic investment option for: “Air quality: Research, invest, incentivize, and empower innovations in alternative vehicle technology development and infrastructure — along with transportation, transit, and other mobility solutions — to improve air quality.”
“The quality of Utah’s air improved dramatically during the state’s Stay Safe, Stay Home period. Research by the Utah Clean Air Partnership (UCAIR) shows the three largest barriers to telework are attitudes, perceived productivity, and infrastructure.
If Utahns can learn from the COVID-19 experience and reduce mobile emissions during winter inversion and summer ozone seasons by driving in a similar way, Utah could experience dramatic improvements in health and quality of life. It’s one way Utah can “return to better.”
During the 2019 legislative session, policymakers prioritized $27 million dollars toward clean air initiatives. Leading up to the 2020 legislative session, the Kem C. Gardner Institute released the legislature-commissioned Utah Road Map for improved air quality and reduced emissions. We know that clean air and economic strength are not mutually exclusive ideas. As decision makers consider ways to revive the state, encourage them to follow the governor’s plan to pursue air quality AND economic revitalization together.
Thank your legislators for their progress on clean air and encourage them to support research, incentives, and innovation in clean air technology as a way to “return to better” as outlined by Gov. Herbert’s Economic Response Task Force.