Sales tax fund to fuel millions in road work
Transportation officials figure that a new law earmarking 30 percent of growth in sales tax revenue for highway construction will generate more than expected. And the Utah Transportation Commission approved a list of projects Friday on which it hopes to spend that money over the next several years.
Gov. Gary Herbert last year vetoed SB229, which earmarked that sales tax growth for road work, arguing it would hinder the state's ability to address other needs such as education. But the Legislature overrode his veto.
Debate at the time estimated the change could generate $60 million a year for highways, depending on how quickly Utah's economy grows. The Utah Department of Transportation now projects it will generate $70.9 million in 2013 (the first year of such earmarks), $86 million in 2014 and $113.6 million in 2015.
The Transportation Commission on Friday approved a list of projects to be completed using that money and funding from other sources.
Among those are:
• Widening Interstate 15 over the Point of the Mountain, from 12300 South in Draper to Lehi's Main Street. That project's total cost is projected at $164.4 million.
• Continuing construction of the Mountain View Corridor in western Salt Lake County. A first phase (frontage roads for a future freeway) will be completed from 16000 South to 5400 South this year. The highway eventually will extend northward to Interstate 80. The next phases are estimated to cost $130 million.
• Extending express lanes plus some widening on I-15 between North Salt Lake and I-84 near Riverdale, at a cost of $86 million.
• Widening I-15 in northern Weber and southern Box Elder counties, projected at $86 million.
• Designing the new West Davis Corridor, which would be a northward expansion of the Legacy Parkway. The cost is projected at $5 million.
• Adding passing lanes along a 30-mile stretch of US-40 in Duchesne County, at a cost of about $5 million.
• Several projects in Washington County to upgrade I-15 interchanges, add passing lanes and improve intersections in St. George.
• Adding passing lanes along a 44-mile stretch of US-6 in Carbon and Emery counties, with a price tag of $6 million.
• Two projects to add passing lanes on I-15 in Beaver County, projected to have a combined cost of $44 million.