Baseline 2020: Purpose, Origins, and Limitations

Baseline 2020 provides a general description of the likely future characteristics of selected aspects of the population, economy, transportation system, air emissions, and water and land use in the 10-county Greater Wasatch Area. It is based on current trends and the best projections available. The baseline was compiled from existing research and planning documents that were prepared by state, regional, and local planning entities. Its purpose is to provide a benchmark against which the effects of alternative future actions can be evaluated. The baseline illuminates many opportunities and challenges likely to be present in the future if no major changes occur in prices, technology, and human behavior.



Growth Summit and QGET
The origin of Baseline 2020 stems from the Growth Summit which was jointly hosted in December 1995 by Governor Leavitt and the Utah State Legislature. Both the Governor and legislature recognized growth as a pivotal issue of the 1990s. The Growth Summit started an ongoing dialogue regarding growth issues within the state. Specific legislative proposals aimed at meeting the challenges of growth, such as the funding of a long range transportation plan, have been initiated since the Summit. The Governor and legislature also funded additional technical work to research and analyze growth through an initiative called Quality Growth Efficiency Tools (QGET). The objective of the QGET effort is to improve the quality of information available to plan for Utah's future. Baseline 2020 has been compiled by the QGET Technical Committee to serve as a benchmark against which the effects of alternative scenarios can be analyzed.

Quality Growth Partnership
The QGET baseline and alternative scenarios relate to the efforts of the Utah Quality Growth Partnership, an effort sponsored by the Coalition for Utah's Future.(2) The Partnership consists of more than a 100 Utah residents who are committed to creating a vision for Utah's future. Their goal is to create a publicly supported growth strategy that will preserve Utah's high quality of life and economic vitality during the next 50 years. At the heart of the Partnership's efforts is the development and analysis of alternative growth scenarios on which the public can be a major participant. Baseline 2020 is a benchmark for public review and forms the basis for developing and evaluating alternative scenarios.


Scope and Issues Not Addressed
The analysis in Baseline 2020 is currently limited to the subject areas of demographics, economics, transportation, air quality, water, and land use. Revisions to Baseline 2020 will likely incorporate additional analyses on these topics, as well as analyses of sewer, utilities and energy resources. Other important and relevant topics such as affordable housing, education, neighborhoods and communities, and social indicators are beyond this strictly defined scope, although some of these issues may be added at a later date.

The contents included in this version of Baseline 2020 are suitable and appropriate for public discussion, but are still considered to be a work in progress. In its current form Baseline 2020 is still missing key elements and will be revised as additional information becomes available.

The inclusion of specific projects in Baseline 2020 does not mean that they will be developed and the exclusion of other projects does not mean that they will not be developed. All potential projects and developments will require funding and environmental studies in order to come to fruition. Baseline 2020 simply includes the projects that are part of the currently adopted plans of the relevant planning entities, given reasonable financial constraints.

Geography and Time Frame GWAclr.gif (13053 bytes)
Baseline 2020 includes the projections and plans for the 10-county Greater Wasatch Area. The central portion of this area stretches from Brigham City in the north to Nephi in the south and Tooele in the west to Heber City in the east. It includes approximately 23 thousand square miles, reaching 100 miles north to south and 40 miles east to west.

Within the larger 10-county area are the four metropolitan counties of Weber, Davis, Salt Lake, and Utah Counties. These counties are defined as metropolitan counties by the federal Office of Management and Budget because they represent Utah's two metropolitan areas of Salt Lake City-Ogden and Provo-Orem. More detailed information is available for these metropolitan counties because their size has required in-depth, sophisticated planning models and analyses.

Information about counties outside of the 10-county Greater Wasatch Area are not included in this baseline, but information can be obtained by visiting the QGET data server over the Internet or contacting the Governor's Office of Planning and Budget.(3) The Governor's Office of Planning and Budget can also help with questions regarding the recently announced 21st Century Community Program, an analogue to the Quality Growth Partnership effort with additional application to the rural counties of the state.

Baseline 2020 begins in 1995 and extends 25 years into the future. The conditions described are the results of extensive and complex modeling and planning processes. These processes include formal consideration of constraints, analysis of the structural composition of trends, and explicit treatment of the plans and public participation of various entities.(4) Much detail is available through 2020 because historical and structural relationships have been modeled. Summary information for the year 2050 is also included in the last section of this document to provide an even starker contrast to present conditions.



2. The Coalition for Utah's Future is a private non-profit organization dedicated to finding common ground for the common good.

3. The Internet address for the QGET data server is

4. More detailed information about these planning models and processes can be obtained from a separate and forthcoming QGET publication available from the Governor's Office of Planning and Budget titled, Quality Growth Efficiency Tools Databook.



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