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What should Utah change by 2050?
Your Utah, Your Future » Planning initiative will seek broad participation from Utahns.
First Published Mar 25 2014 04:22 pm • Last Updated Mar 25 2014 10:52 pm

By 2050, Utah will be home to 2.5 million more residents — who will need jobs, education, roads and transit and affordable housing. They’ll add to the demand for clean water, clean air and the state’s recreation areas.

To develop strategies to manage and thrive in a more crowded future, eight task forces convened by Envision Utah are getting underway and will be reaching out to Utahns for ideas and feedback as part of the "Your Utah, Your Future" campaign.

At a glance

Envisioning the future

Share your ideas at www.envisionutah.org. The leaders of Envision Utah’s task forces are:

Clean air

Lonnie Bullard, chair of Jacobson Construction; pediatrician Michelle Hofmann, founder of Breathe Utah.

Economic development

Spencer Eccles, executive director of the Governor’s Office of Economic Development; Jeff Edwards, president and CEO of Economic Development Corp. of Utah; Natalie Gochnour, associate dean of the David Eccles School of Business at the University of Utah.


Martin Bates, superintendent of Granite School District; Bonnie Jean Beesley, chair of Utah State Board of Regents.

Energy and Disaster Resilience

Ron Jibson, president and CEO, Questar Corporation; Brigham Young University professor Lisa Sun; Rich Walje of Rocky Mountain Power

Housing and cost of living

Community activist Pamela Atkinson, Dan Lofgren, chair of the board of Envision Utah and head of developer Cowboy Partners; Ty McCutcheon, vice president of Kennecott and head of Kennecott Land Company

Natural lands, agriculture and recreation

Leonard Blackham, former state senator and former Utah comissioner of agriculture; Wendy Fisher, executive director of Utah Open Lands; Kathleen Clarke, Utah public lands policy coordinator.

Transportation and communities

Utah County Commissioner Larry Ellertson; Sandy Mayor Tom Dolan; H. David Burton, co-chair of the Salt Lake Chamber’s Utah Transportation Coalition.


Tage Flint, general manager of Weber Basin Water Conservancy District; Tim Hawkes, Trout Unlimited; Warren Peterson, Farmland Reserve, Inc.

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Utah Gov. Gary Herbert announced the planning effort in October and wants to develop a vision and strategy to achieve consensus goals by 2015.

READ MORE: Plan would manage Wasatch Front growth with high-density

Leaders of the teams outlined their challenges at Rice-Eccles Stadium Tuesday.

Air » Cleaner fuel and vehicles will decrease auto emissions by 80 percent, but Utah will need to do more. The action team will recommend a "complete set of holistic strategies" to help. Find its suggestions so far here.

Education » Almost half of Utah’s state and local taxes are paid by the 28 percent of the population that have a bachelor’s degree or higher.

Now, 42 percent of white Utahns hold an associate degree or higher, compared to 31 percent of African Americans and 17 percent of Hispanics. Utah aims to have 66 percent of its working adults hold a college degree or professional certificate by 2020, which will require more resources for education, greater access for diverse populations, and more rigorous K-12 preparation.

READ MORE: Report: Utah better move fast to hit 2020 college graduate goal

Economic development » To add 2.5 million people, Utah will need another 1.3 million jobs. Generating new jobs requires education, infrastructure, reasonably-priced utilities and other supports.

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Energy and disaster resilience » About 80 percent of Utah’s population lives within 15 miles of the Wasatch Fault, and the probability of a large earthquake in the next 50 years is 1 in 4.

Utah will need to generate more power by 2050, and faces decisions about whether it will ease reliance on fossil fuels, protecting transmission corridors and maintaining infrastructure.

Housing and cost of living » There are more housing choices now than 20 years ago, but as less land is available, how can housing and transportation remain affordable?

Much of the growth is predicted to occur in southwest Salt Lake County and in Davis and Weber counties east of the Great Salt Lake and Willard Bay.

READ MORE: Study: Housing ‘out of reach’ for many Utahns

Natural lands, agriculture and recreation » Do Utahns want to preserve the ability to produce their own food? While recreation is an economic driver, there are competing uses of natural lands that must be balanced.

Transportation and communities » By 2050, every driver could face two to four times the delays seen today. There’s only 37,000 vacant acres left in the Salt Lake Valley, and about 13,000 acres in Davis County.

By 2030, there will be little vacant land between Ogden and Provo, potentially pushing development into valleys with little access to transit.

Water » Herbert has set a goal of a 25 percent reduction in water consumption by 2025, but the expected growth will require even more water for demands from cities, agriculture and businesses.

By 2060, the maintenance cost of current water infrastructure is projected to top $16 billion.

Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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