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Richard Piatt ReportingA top priority for Utahns is also becoming a top priority for the state's political candidates. The effects of growth on Utah's quality of life are very much on people's minds this year.
It happens so steadily that most people don't notice the effects of growth until something bad is about to happen. And in Utah population changes are being noticed, and it's only the beginning.
Starting now, more children will need to be educated; more people need water to drink, but the supply is staying the same; more people need to get places--people who are moving to the suburbs to live, in spite of having jobs downtown; and more older people will require health care at the same time more kids enter schools, putting a squeeze on those who work and pay income taxes.
Are people worried?
"I'm worried from the aspect of transportation issues and about how education issues are going to be handled."
"I think it'll be a good thing for Utah, get a little more diversity in here."
"More air pollution, more cars on the road, more need for health care, more need for all over."
A lot of people feel that way, according to the Utah Foundation. The group lists growth and its consequences in its top 10 campaign issues in this election year.
Janice Houston, Utah Foundation: "Population drives everything else. It drives education, it drives water, it drives infrastructure. So people need to understand how fast we're growing and where the growth is occurring."
Most Candidates are well aware of the issues and of the fact that people care about them. But responding to growth is going to take leadership from them, and an understanding of the issues from the public.
Utahns have every right to demand real answers from their elected leaders about growth in the future. Those elected leaders in turn will find it a challenge to find real solutions at a time when blanket policies and platitudes just won't be enough.
The top three fastest growing cities in Utah, according to the Census bureau, are the Utah County towns of Saratoga Springs and Eagle Mountain, and Herriman in Salt Lake County.