“The gondola is not an option for the poor and using that kind of state funding, for an option that will not benefit anyone who is low income seems like a pretty poor use of taxpayer funds to us.”– Jean Hill, Director of the Catholic Diocese’s Office of Life, Justice & Peace.
The Catholic Church has spoken out against the Little Cottonwood Gondola. Fox 13 Utah reports that the Catholic Diocese of Salt Lake City is telling its members to sound off against the Little Cottonwood Canyon gondola. The Catholic Diocese of Salt Lake City sent an email to its members across the state telling them to submit comments to the Utah Department Of Transportation (UDOT).
They are bothered by the taxpayer-funded cost, along with how this will not improve the lives of the impoverished in the Salt Lake metropolitan area. They want the money to go towards things like free transit for everybody and more affordable housing in the area. This follows news of the Utah Department of Transportation picking a gondola as the preferred alternative to fix the traffic problems in Little Cottonwood Canyon.
In her defense, gondolas are often ways for middle to lower-class people to reach other wealthier portions of the cities, especially in nations such as Colombia, Brazil, Belize, and other nations. I actually got to ride an urban gondola in Medellín, which was a pretty cool experience.
The Little Cottonwood gondola is obviously different, with it benefitting skiers and riders, which is one of the most expensive sports on the planet. While the gondola would help the canyon in reducing traffic, there have been questions about its environmental costs, and how it affects the aesthetic beauty of the area. It would also cost money to ride the gondola, but Snowbird has said it would be free for their season-passholders to ride it.
Jean Hill, Director of the Catholic Diocese’s Office of Life, Justice & Peace, said the following about the gondola:
“We believe all public policy should be judged by how it impacts the most vulnerable. This one does horrible things for the most vulnerable, because it does absolutely does nothing for them. It’s a substantial amount of funding going to something that’s really only going to benefit people who can already afford to ski, first of all, and can only afford this transportation option.
Budgets are moral documents. That idea of how we spend taxpayer funding, we’re making moral decisions here. And for us, the moral decision is let’s put that kind of money into things that are going to benefit the least among us.”
UDOT currently has a forty-five-day comment period that’s open until October 17th. You can submit a comment here.