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Top Utah Transit Authority executives have pledged to forgo bonuses for the next two years for the benefit of the agency.

"The Board of Trustees has expressed its commitment to focus on adding and improving service and earning and maintaining the trust of our riders and the community," the publicly funded UTA said in a statement posted on its website.

"As part of this process, the board completed a comprehensive review of employee compensation last March and made meaningful changes. In support of these objectives, the UTA executive team announced a decision to decline their performance incentive pay for 2015 and 2016 goal achievement and direct those resources to service and operations."

The two-year bonus moratorium comes before the Nov. 3 election for Proposition 1, which would raise sales taxes a quarter-cent for transit and local transportation. If approved by voters in all six counties in which it operates, the measure could mean an estimated $39 million annually for UTA.

In the past, UTA has come under fire from critics and state auditors for high executive pay and bonuses. Top leaders were receiving bonuses as high as $30,000 apiece.

More recently the agency has adjusted the incentive program so the maximum allowed was $7,500.

UTA Chairman David Burton in a prepared statement thanked the executives for their teamwork and integrity.

"I, for one, applaud the decision," he said.

A tentative budget to be approved Wednesday by the full board would continue operation expansions started in August, increasing bus-service hours by 5 percent and rail service by nearly 4.5 percent. Also, paratransit service would see a 5.5 percent increase.

The tentative budget will be up for public comment through November and final approval is scheduled in December.

Dan Harrie