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Lawmakers, Business Leaders Call for Increased Transportation Funding

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Garrett via Flickr
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Southbound Interstate 15 at Bangerter Highway.

Utah lawmakers may be seeking a comprehensive solution to the state’s transportation funding issues during the next legislative session.

The Salt Lake Chamber’s, Utah Transportation Coalition has identified an $11 billion dollar hole in the state’s transportation funding for the next three decades.  Representative Johnny Anderson Chairs the Utah House Transportation Committee. He says house and senate leaders are considering a wide range of options, including raising the gas tax, and better aligning registration fees with vehicle fuel efficiency.

“We’ve got a long-term outlook,” Anderson says. “We’ve got a 30-year-plan. We’re working to find solutions that will address that entire plan.”

Members of the business community joined lawmakers and local elected officials on Monday to launch a statewide campaign aimed at communicating the need for increased transportation funding.

Cameron Diehl is with the Utah League of Cities and Towns. He says transportation is about more than moving around.

“Transportation is about quality of life,” Diehl says. “It’s about economic development. It’s about air quality. And so if we address Transportation in a comprehensive way, we’re actually addressing other issues.”

Diehl says the new funding would likely be split between local road projects, including bike lanes and sidewalks, state road projects and mass transit. 

Both the Salt Lake Chamber and the League of Cities and Towns support an increase in the gas tax.

Clarification: The Salt Lake Chamber supports an increase in the gas tax, while the Utah League of Cities and Towns advocates the state legislature study a possible increase in the gas tax. Deihl says ULCT prefers a local option sales tax increase, so local government can meet their respective transportation needs. 

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