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Legislators served notice Tuesday that they plan an in-depth review of how the sometimes-controversial Utah Transit Authority is managed.
Sen. Wayne Harper, R-Taylorsville, told the Senate he was set to propose a substitute to a minor bill tweaking appointments to UTA's board that would have formed a state commission to study the transit agency over the next year.
Instead, he announced that lawmakers agreed to study UTA through its regular interim meetings during the upcoming year.
Sen. Brian Shiozawa, R-Cottonwood Heights, said the studies "will look at the composition of the [UTA] board and how board members are chosen," and said UTA itself will also be looking at those issues.
Harper's proposed-but-not-adopted substitute outlined many areas that he wants studied which may still be reviewed including:
• How the president of UTA should be chosen, what his pay and benefits should be, and how to measure whether his compensation is fair. UTA currently is searching for a replacement for former President and CEO Michael Allegra, who retired last year.
Pay of UTA officials has been controversial. Allegra's compensation including benefits was $402,187 in 2013, which included a $30,000 bonus.
UTA has chosen not to award bonuses during the next two years, and has limited future bonuses to no more than $7,500. It also said newly hired executives have salaries that are lower than in the past.
• A look at how the UTA board is chosen, and what qualifications members should have.
• A look at UTA's involvement in transit-oriented developments such as shops and apartments near train stations and whether UTA should be forced out of deals in such developments.
• Possible restrictions on lobbying by UTA.
A state audit in 2014 complained about high pay at UTA, sweetheart deals with developers, questionable fares, extensive executive travel and heavy debt. Auditors later said they believe UTA has adopted all but one of their recommendations.
UTA spokesman Remi Barron said, "We have no position on the matter. UTA is focused on demonstrating the meaningful changes and reforms we have made, available at rideuta.com/trust, and on providing excellent service to the residents of the Wasatch Front."