Clean Air Caucus has a big legislative agenda

Feb 10, 2021, 7:29 PM | Updated: 7:48 pm
Clean Air Caucus...
(Ravell Call, Deseret News)
(Ravell Call, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah- The Clean Air Caucus in the Utah legislature has members from both parties, and they outlined their agenda for the current session in a news conference Wednesday afternoon. The agenda for the upcoming year includes more than a dozen bills and more than $357 million dollars in spending.

The lion’s share of that money, $350 million, would go to double-track the FrontRunner commuter train system.

“Anybody who’s ridden FrontRunner a lot, like I have, knows you have to pull over and wait sometimes for the other train to pass,” said Sen. Todd Weiler (R-Woods Cross). Governor Spencer Cox included the money in his proposed budget.

There’s also $6 million in the budget for electric vehicle charging infrastructure in Utah’s rural communities. 

Other bills supported by the Clean Air Caucus include:

HB 123, which would look at the idea of creating a state laboratory to study air quality and climate change. (Rep. Handy)

HB 91, which would provide tax credits for heavy-duty vehicles using alternative fuels such as natural gas, electricity or hydrogen. (Rep. Stoddard)

HB 63, which creates a state fund for investment in clean energy projects. (Rep. Briscoe)

The Clean Air Caucus was started by a Democrat, Patrice Arent, who served as both a state senator and representative. Today, Sen. Weiler said it has strong support in both parties as lawmakers look at surveys showing air quality is a top concern of Utah voters.

“When I came in as a freshman senator in 2012, as a Republican, and started talking about clean air” Weiler said, “I got some funny looks from other Republicans, like ‘Hey, are you sure you’re in the right meeting?’ but now, it’s completely changed.”

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Clean Air Caucus has a big legislative agenda