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Utah Lawmaker Puts Forth $2.2 Billion Infrastructure Proposal

Part of the infrastructure proposal includes adding another track to the Frontrunner passenger train.
Wikimedia Commons
Part of the infrastructure proposal includes adding another track to the Frontrunner passenger train.

Utah could soon be in line for massive infrastructure investments, after a bill cleared a House committee Friday.

The $2.2 billion infrastructure expansion would support roads, transit and other projects across the state.

Rep. Mike Winder, R-West Valley, heaped praise on the proposal.

“I believe, generations from now, this will be looked back on as the most significant piece of Legislation this session,” Winder said. “We’re doing so many things at once to really handle the growth of Utah and accelerate us into the future.”

One project is adding another track to the Frontrunner passenger train to increase frequency. That’s with hopes of bumping up ridership and getting more cars off the road.

The bill also invests money into state parks and trails.

Rep. Jeff Stenquist, R-Draper, said that was his favorite part.

“We’ve seen a shock to our whole system with COVID, and the use of and interest in outdoor recreation and enjoying our outdoor spaces has exploded,” Stenquist said. “So I think including some funding to enhance that infrastructure is a very wise move.”

Rep. Mike Schultz, R-Hooper, is the bill’s sponsor. He proposed $1.4 billion in bonds and $863 million from the state’s general fund to pay for the projects.

Schultz said it’s the right time to do this because interest rates for bonds are low — and the state has more than $1 billion in one-time money on hand.

“To me, this is the perfect thing to use one-time money on because it actually creates an investment in our state that’s sorely needed,” he said.

He said he’s heard from city and county leaders across the state about the need to address traffic congestion and other infrastructure issues.

House Republican leaders said they’re negotiating with the Senate and governor’s office over the cost of the bill.

Emily Means is a government and politics reporter at KUER.
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