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Your front-page story on Utah Transit Authority's excessive top-tier bonuses is spot on ("Are UTA execs taking public for a ride with big bonuses?" Tribune, July 7). Good reporting.

The last time I checked, the UTA was a "taxpayer funded" entity charged with providing low-cost public transportation to citizens along the Wasatch front. It is not Goldman-Sachs or ExxonMobile, with large profit margins and bonus payouts.

The UTA has debt and there are no profit margins. Yet, as your splendid article pointed out, the UTA board of directors paid the former UTA manager $728,000 for two years to study high-speed rail and to travel the globe attending conferences and the like. Further, a lifetime pension has been set up for him at $200,000 per year.

Ridiculous! How about a sensible $1,500 per month, or $18,000 per year.

By and large, the UTA has done a good job. Recently, a UTA official, during the initial Salt Lake to Provo Frontrunner run, told me that 2009 federal stimulus funds paid a large part of the cost. Hence, UTA officials' claim that the bonuses were deserved because the line was completed ahead of schedule and under budget.

Robert Epperson


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