Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox lauds Summit County, Park City for commitments to clean-air | ParkRecord.com

Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox lauds Summit County, Park City for commitments to clean-air

Utah's Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox lauded Summit County and Park City's commitment to reduce the carbon footprint along the Wasatch Back on Wednesday at the launch of two new electric vehicle fast-charging stations in Kimball Junction.

Incremental strides to improve air quality, even where noticeable inversions are not present, is essential in the effort to reduce vehicle emissions, he said.

"I appreciate everything that Park City and Summit County and Salt Lake City are doing to help clean the air," he said in an interview. "It is being noticed and it is a big deal. It is going to have to start and the state has a role to play, but local communities have a huge role to play in this and we are grateful for that leadership."

Cox was part of a small contingent of elected officials who stopped in Summit County on Wednesday to attend the ribbon cutting for the charging stations adjacent to the Sheldon Richins Building. More than 30 people attended the private event, including Rep. Tim Quinn, Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski, members of the Summit County Council and Rocky Mountain Power CEO Cindy Crane.

The new stations are capable of charging a vehicle within about 30 minutes, significantly faster than other chargers, which can take up to eight to 12 hours. A $250,000 grant from Rocky Mountain Power made the installation in Kimball Junction possible. It was part of a larger $10 million Department of Energy grant Rocky Mountain Power received to boost its efforts for electrification, particularly infrastructure for electrical vehicles along the state's major corridors.

Utah's elected leaders have made significant strides in recent years to address declining air quality through moratoriums on wood-burning stoves or the increased availability of public transit. Cox said it is a challenge the state is committed to addressing. He placed most of the blame for the poor air quality on tailpipe emissions.

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"We know we have to do more, and it is something we all desperately want to see solved," he said during the press conference. "Utah is known for many, many things, but especially over the coming weeks there is no corridor that is more well-known than from Salt Lake City to Park City with the Sundance Film Festival coming here. This is where the famous people come, and this is their view and our showcase to the world."

The installation of the charging stations is part of Rocky Mountain Power's broader effort to increase the infrastructure for electric vehicles. Crane, the Rocky Mountain Power CEO, said the project is a "small part of what is to come here in Utah."

"We are working hard on infrastructure and policies that are needed," she said at the event. "We will be installing more than 700 chargers throughout the state that will contribute to improving air quality and quality of life."

Crane said the new stations complete a network of publicly available fast chargers from Salt Lake City's airport and downtown area to Summit County.

"With the completion of these stations, you can now go from Salt Lake City to Park City in Summit County without worrying about a charge," she said. "This is connecting our communities in northern Utah who are leading the way for clean energy."

In Summit County, the charging stations will help the county's transition to a fleet of all-electrical vehicles and support of innovate programs that promote clean-air. County Council Chair Kim Carson said it coincides with the county's strategic plan to ensure "we are preserving our community for the future."

"The charging stations are an important part of our infrastructure and are needed to allow businesses and individuals of Summit County to confidently invest in transportation, such as electric vehicles," she said in her opening remarks during the ceremony. "Summit County is committed to being a leader in the move toward a clean future, and we are glad to be joined by other like-minded leaders."