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UDOT Budget Cuts Would Mean Scaled Back Road Cleanup, But Not Paving

Photo of a machine and workers laying asphalt on a road
peuceta via iStock
Road paving is spared from the Utah Department of Transportation's suggested budget cuts, which instead focus on scaling back road cleanup like litter pickup and carcass removal.

The Utah Department of Transportation’s budget could shrink by up to $1.5 million next year due to falling tax revenues resulting from the coronavirus pandemic.

The Legislature’s Infrastructure and General Government Appropriations Subcommittee approved a plan Thursday to get the department there.

The potential cuts include scaling back carcass removal, litter pickup, and road sweeping in a large swath of central Utah. There could also be reductions in building maintenance, traffic studies, and new snow plow purchases.

UDOT Executive Director Carlos Braceras said the suggestions won’t have big safety impacts or long term consequences for the state’s roads.

“Good roads cost less,” Braceras said. “If we stop investing in pavement preservation, bridge preservation, those things, it might not be apparent today or tomorrow, but in four or five years, it would basically create a financial liability for the state.”

The subcommittee chose not to recommend laying off 15 UDOT employees, and substituted those budget reductions with cuts to capital improvement projects.

“We've got a ton of unemployment,” said Senate Minority Leader Karen Mayne, D-West Valley City. “I don't think we need any more.”

The Executive Appropriations Committee will decide next month which proposed cuts to accept across all agencies.

Sonja Hutson covers politics for KUER. Follow her on Twitter @SonjaHutson

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