Utah lawmakers say too much money going to transit in Salt Lake County

| 10/18/2007

State lawmakers in Utah have accused officials in Salt Lake County of not following the intent of a law to direct sales tax revenue to roads. Instead, money has been routed to transit.

The finger pointing follows the release of a legislative audit. According to the audit, a math error and “bias” toward transit may have led to the elimination of some road projects from consideration for funding, the Deseret Morning News reported.

Revenue is generated from a quarter-cent sales tax increase approved by voters in November 2006. It is required that the revenue be used for “corridor preservation, congestion mitigation, or to expand capacity for transportation of regional significance.”

The audit found that Salt Lake County officials used a flawed process, which ranked transit above several road projects when making decisions on how to spend money from the tax increase. The error boiled down to bad math, the audit said.

The Morning News reported that the math error caused commuter rail to be ranked second on a priority list of projects to be funded. It should have been ranked 19th.

The Legislature’s Audit Committee voted to forward the information to the Executive Appropriations Committee for action.

To view other legislative activities of interest for Utah in 2007, click here.

– By Keith Goble, state legislative editor