A study by the Utah Department of Transportation says the Mountain View
Corridor cannot be financed with tolls alone. State lawmakers gave mixed
reviews to the findings.
State residents would need to fork over about one-third of the cost of
the proposed highway that would stretch 35 miles from Interstate 80 in Salt Lake County to the Pleasant Grove Interchange in Utah County, the study said. Likely
revenue enhancers could include higher fuel taxes, sales taxes, vehicle
registration fees or other funding options.
Some state and local officials and residents said the need for more
public money makes the option of a toll road unappealing.
“If we have to pay for one-third of it, why should we toll it?” Sen. Ed
Mayne, D-West Valley, told the Deseret
On the other hand, Rep. John Dougall, R-Highland, said the study was
“amazingly good news.”
Dougall cited legislation approved last month that would allow counties
in the state to raise their sales tax by a one-fourth of a cent to pay for
transportation projects. If approved by voters, about $450 million could be
made available for the state to purchase land for the road that could then be
The tolling issue stems from legislation that was signed into law this
year to allow the state to partner with private groups to finance and build
toll roads. The private business would keep toll revenue.
The UDOT study that was released days before the lawmakers approved the
sales tax option showed that leasing the road would not provide enough money to
pay the complete cost of the project, the Morning
It is estimated that it would cost about $1.8 billion to complete the
corridor project. Tolling the road to pay for construction would still require
residents to pay about $640 million through tax increases or other options, the
Leasing the highway to a private group would still require the state to
cover about $502 million in costs through other funding sources.
The state Transportation Commission is expected to spend the next year
reviewing details to make a decision about whether to impose tolls on the
corridor. Public input is expected to play a part in the decision making