Salt Lake City

Mayor Proposes Comprehensive Plan to Address Air Quality


January 8, 2014
Contact: Art Raymond

Mayor Proposes Comprehensive Plan to Address Air Quality
SALT LAKE CITY – Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker took an aggressive and passionate tone in his State of the City speech this year. The topic was Utah's air quality and the plan he laid out, could be best summarized by the famous song lyric, "We need a little less talk and a lot more action."

Mayor Becker delivered his 2014 State of the City address today to an overflow audience that included the City Council, Salt Lake City legislators, students from area schools and members of the community on the University of Utah campus.

The speech focused entirely on the biggest problem facing Salt Lake City and communities all along the Wasatch Front-air quality.

“We have moved far past the point where paying lip service to addressing air quality issues will suffice,” said Mayor Becker. “I believe I speak on behalf of all of our residents in stating that enough is enough and now is the time to take meaningful action.”

“By its very nature, air quality is not a local issue. Addressing air quality means addressing the airshed along the Wasatch Front. Regional, state, private and public actions are necessary.”

The mayor called on state leaders to move forward in five specific areas, or grant local entities the ability to move these issues forward themselves. Those requests include:

-Allocating more money for public transit
-Making low-sulphur (Tier 3) gasoline available
-Changing state law to allow for standards that are relevant to Utah
-Making the true cost of driving transparent at the pump
-Updating building code to require power efficiency

The mayor also outlined efforts already engaged, and planned, at the City level, but pointed out that this regional issue-one that’s impacting the health of individuals, the health of the local economy and prospects for the future-requires a collaborative, regional response

While Mayor Becker acknowledged the path to cleaner air is one that requires the combined efforts of individuals, businesses and government organizations at all levels, the most critical current needs can only be accommodated by state leaders.

“The status quo is hurting us, it’s hurting our families and it will continue to hurt our pocketbooks over time,” said Mayor Becker. “We cannot pick a few things that are easy to do - but may not make significant changes - and call it good. We need change, and much of the change we need can come only from the authority currently held at the State level.”

Read the full text of Mayor Becker’s 2014 State of the City Address at

Also, raw HD footage of speech excerpts can be downloaded here: