OGDEN -- Gov. Gary Herbert rode FrontRunner into Ogden on Monday to launch air pollution-reduction initiatives and then talked with a downtown restaurateur regarding ways the state can help small businesses.
Herbert was joined by several dignitaries on the whistle-stop tour that began in Salt Lake City and included a brief layover in Woods Cross to kick off the state's Clear the Air Challenge that runs June 13 to July 10.
"We have a role to play to clean up the air," he said during a brief news conference at Ogden's Intermodal Hub at 23rd Street and Wall Avenue. "We need to find our niche and do what we can do."
The Clear the Air Challenge includes various strategies to encourage Utahns to drive less and reduce vehicle emissions by car pooling, riding mass transit or bicycling. More information about the challenge can be found at http://cleartheairchallenge.org.
Herbert also unveiled the Utah Department of Transportation's new TravelWise website at TravelWise.utah.gov.
The website includes a TravelWise Tracker computer program and smartphone application that allows users to see how small changes in travel habits can make a difference in reducing vehicle emissions.
By following tips on the TravelWise website, Utahns can protect the environment, and "with gasoline approaching $4 a gallon, it's an opportunity for us to save some money," Herbert said.
Mayor Matthew Godfrey said during the news conference that city officials are pleased to participate in the Clear the Air Challenge and the TravelWise program.
The city has been involved for several years in strategies aimed at reducing vehicle emissions, he said.
"We chose to be the outdoor recreation capital of the world. To be the high-adventure mecca, you have to have clean air."
Godfrey also noted the city has installed a compressed natural gas filling station to service its trash trucks and numerous police vehicles. Ogden also implemented a Fresh Air Friday program to encourage municipal employees and others throughout the city to park their cars one day a week, he said.
The city also established a rubberized trolley system that loops through the downtown area to reduce pollution from automobiles, Godfrey said.
Following the news conference, Herbert headed to Rovali's Ristorante Italiano at 174 Historic 25th St. Over a lunch, Herbert chatted with owner Alex Montanez about the importance of small businesses to Utah.
"Small businesses are the backbone of the economy," Herbert said.
He said his cabinet is reviewing all of the state's 1,970 business regulations to determine which ones are obsolete or need to be modified to help Utah companies succeed.
Montanez said he appreciated having a one-on-one talk with Herbert about the importance of fair regulations.
"It was a really good, friendly conversation."