Utah group visits Texas to talk toll roads

| 9/14/2005

A Utah delegation visited Texas this past weekend to learn how the Lone Star State has partnered with private groups to build toll roads.

“Primarily, what we’re trying to do is recognize we do have a tremendous shortfall, so we need to look at every option that’s out there,” Utah state Sen. Sheldon Killpack told The Associated Press.

Killpack, R-Syracuse, said he plans to draft a bill to propose authorizing tolls before the transportation interim committee in November.

“There will be legislation regarding public-private partnership,” he said. “That’s why we’re talking to people to gain a better understanding of the concept.”

Texas lawmakers recently passed legislation allowing the state to enter into public-private partnerships for road building.

The 18-member group of Utah legislators met with people who assisted those negotiations.

The Utah Legislature approved a measure earlier this year authorizing the state’s transportation department to consider tolls as an option for new state roads. The agency is studying whether the proposed Mountain View Corridor could be a toll road, The AP reported.

Lawmakers and transportation officials say building toll roads with aid from the private sector would allow new roads to be built sooner.

The delegation that traveled to Texas will brief members of the interim committee about their trip later this month.