The Provo-Orem metropolitan area is one of the fastest growing areas in the country. This creates unique problems in terms of housing availability, transportation, and quality of life. If elected, I will work with the mayor and other city council members to ensure that the city of Provo invests in its future and is prepared to face the challenges that lie ahead. This would include focusing on smart growth, expanding alternatives in transportation, and sourcing from more sustainable energy.
We live in a beautiful city where we are lucky to have mountains on our east and a lake on our west. This does, however, create a problem for growth in the city. With not many places to expand outward, many people assume that Provo will need to grow upward. If we are not careful, this can be very harmful to our existing neighborhoods. In order to accomplish this difficult task, we must focus on leveraging our existing city assets to ensure the city is a great place for everyone. As we grow, we should focus that growth on the center of our city where our downtown area and UVX corridor are already prepared to handle an influx of new Provo residents.
My goal for Provo is to make it where all citizens can get to any place in the city quickly and conveniently without the use of a car. Making the city a place that is safe for people who walk, ride their bicycle, or take public transit will not only make our city feel more like a home, it will also decrease the congestion and pollution our city is tackling. Growth in Provo does not have to mean longer traffic jams. Active and public transportation must be made a priority.
Currently, 70 percent of Utah’s energy comes from coal. This is bad for the Earth and especially bad for those with respiratory problems in the Valley. Because Provo services its own electricity, we are in a unique position to control which forms of energy we choose to source. If elected, one of my biggest goals is to get a plan in place for Provo to aggressively remove coal as an energy source. There are several resources in place for Provo to make this happen already, which can be found on http://www.renewchoice.com/. For example, my home is completely run on renewable energy for just a few extra dollars each month, and options are coming to Provo to participate in community-owned solar farming.
In order to replace coal as our primary energy source, we will need to leverage multiple sources of energy including solar, wind, and hydroelectric. I would like to see Provo extend tax credits on participation in renewable energy as incentives, as well as increase rebates for households who take steps to reduce their electricity consumption in easy ways, such as switching to LED lightbulbs, investing in smart thermostats, low-flow faucets, and understanding the impacts of our electricity consumption.