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Utah Lawmakers Pass Special Session Bill To Fix Road Funding

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iStockphoto.com- milosradinovic

Utah lawmakers met in a special legislative session Wednesday evening to work out kinks in the state’s gas tax that was passed last year.

When the legislature approved a 4.9-cent gasoline tax increase in 2015, it also reworked the formula for dispersing funding for roads to cities and counties. Some rural jurisdictions ended up receiving more money than expected, while others were shortchanged. Rep. Johnny Anderson, R-Taylorsville, says he’s been working on the fix with the Utah League of Cities and Towns and the Utah Association of Counties.

“This thing has been vetted by UDOT, by the fiscal analysts, by state finance, by both of these associations,” Anderson told members of the Utah House of Representatives, “to make sure that what we are putting in the bill is something that both of those entities are comfortable with.”

Anderson says the counties and towns which received extra money have already used it to begin new road projects. Lawmakers approved $5 million to help those places finish out their projects. It also approved $5.6 million to help catch up the counties that hadn’t received a fair cut. The money will come from the general fund and the transportation fund, both of which had budget surpluses this year.

Rep. Anderson says the funding mistake should serve as a lesson that rural parts of the state often don’t receive enough money.

“They have an awful lot of lane miles,” he said. “They take care of roads that provide access for the entire state to things that we want access to. And they’ve been struggling to come up with the money to keep those roads maintained.”

Lawmakers also passed a measure dealing with regulation of recycling. The Senate confirmed appointments made by Gov. Herbert, including Rep. Kraig Powell, who is leaving the legislature at the end of his term to serve as a judge on the 4th District Court. 

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