Transit measures approved in two Utah counties

| 11/15/2006

Voters in two counties in Utah last week handily approved ballot questions to raise their sales tax by a quarter-cent to pay for road and transit projects. Revenue also will be used to help fund the Mountain View Corridor project.

Salt Lake County voters approved Proposition 3 by a margin of about 64 percent to 36 percent. Utah County residents approved their opinion question by a slightly larger margin, 69 percent to 31 percent.

For Salt Lake County, a quarter of the tax increase is earmarked to fund preservation of routes for future roads, namely the Mountain View Corridor. Local officials will decide how the rest of the money is dedicated for transportation.

Utah County will spend 87 percent of the tax income to build commuter rail. About 8 percent will be used for highway construction, while the remaining 5 percent will fund other transit projects, the Deseret Morning News reported.

After projects are ranked for necessity in the counties state lawmakers will approve a process for choosing what work will be done. The Legislature's Executive Appropriations Committee was scheduled to meet Tuesday, Nov. 14, to being debate about the process.

Supporters said the tax increases will help speed construction of needed transportation projects to help reduce gridlock and slow movement of goods, the Morning News reported. The questions in both counties had no organized opposition.

- By Keith Goble, state legislative editor