Legislative leaders unveil largest transportation proposal in Utah history

Feb 26, 2021, 1:46 PM

assault utah transit authority utah infrastructure requests include transportation needs...

Utah Transit Authority FrontRunner. File Photo: Sam Penrod, KSL TV

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah legislative leaders are unveiling the largest transportation proposal in state history.

Transportation proposal tops $2 billion

It’s a massive $2.26 billion spending plan for infrastructure, which includes $1.4 billion in bonding. 

House Majority Leader Mike Schultz, R-Hooper, is sponsoring HB433 which would authorize the issuance of bonds for transportation and transit projects. The bill also includes nearly $823 million in one-time general fund revenues. 

The measure is looking to fund some major projects, including $300 million to double-track specific sections of FrontRunner and $11 million for a bus rapid transit system in the Salt Lake Valley.

“This would fund infrastructure projects all across the state,” Schultz told the Deseret News on Thursday. “To me, with all the congestion and everything, that’s a huge deal. And it’s multi-model. That’s the neat part.”

Back-and-forth about bonding

On the other side, some members of the Senate have voiced concerns about how much bonding would be involved.

“My gut is still queasy about our situation,” said Senate Majority Leader Evan Vickers, R-Cedar City. “I think there’s still a cliff out there and I worry about that. I’m just having a hard time grappling with that.”

Gov. Spencer Cox also indicated to reporters that he thinks $1.4 billion in bonding is too steep.

“We’re all-in on infrastructure, [but] all-in doesn’t mean all-in on bonding,” he said. “That doesn’t mean we’re opposed to bonding, but we have to get it right.”

As currently written, bonds from the bill would go towards paying for several projects, including:

  • $30 million for a Forest Street rail bridge project in Brigham City.
  • $5 million for an environmental study at Point of the Mountain, or the soon-to-be former site of the Utah State Prison.
  • $4 million for a Utah Transit Authority and Sharp and Tintic railroad consolidation project. The goal would be to connect Sharp and Tintic Railroad corridors within Springville and Spanish Fork.

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Legislative leaders unveil largest transportation proposal in Utah history