Huge transit projects are coming to Utah. The following is planned.

The projects are planned from this year to 2050.

(Francisco Kjolseth | The Salt Lake Tribune) Traffic moves along I-15 in Salt Lake City on Thursday, September 3, 2020. Utah’s unified transportation plan, unveiled Wednesday, includes a compilation of projects planned across the state through 2050.

Utah transportation officials on Wednesday officially unveiled hundreds of transit projects planned for the state between this year and 2050.

The new plan is a compilation of separate regional plans developed by Utah’s metropolitan planning organizations. Those organizations include local government planners, the Utah Department of Transportation and the Utah Department of Transportation, among others, according to the plan’s website.

The projects outlined in the plan will add 4,700 miles of active transportation routes across the state, including bike paths, multi-use trails and improved hiking trails.

The goal is to reduce travel time by nearly six days and provide cleaner air, as authorities expect a 13% reduction in emissions nationwide once completed, according to a news release.

The plan will also boost Utah’s economy, officials say. Overall, the improvements are expected to increase Utah’s gross domestic product by $247.2 billion, thanks to about $117 billion in estimated construction spending and $100 billion in new transportation efficiencies, the plan’s website says.

Around 74,000 jobs are expected to be created in the construction industry alone. And an estimated 96,500 more jobs could be created by the plan’s ultimate benefits for Utah businesses – and for new businesses that may choose to relocate to Utah as a result.

What is the plan?

Each of Utah’s four municipal planning organizations (MPOs) contributes transportation plans dated through 2050, according to the statewide plan’s website. These include Cache MPO, the Wasatch Front Regional Council, the Mountainland Association of Governments (MAG), and Dixie MPO.

UDOT also has its own long-term plan that covers non-urban areas that are not included in the state’s four MPOs, the website says.

Projects featured on the website Wednesday included the Little Cottonwood Canyon Gondola, which is part of the Wasatch Front Regional Council’s long-term plan. A map allows users to filter plans by MPO, Senate district or House district.

Users can also filter the map by project types – such as active transportation, which includes bike lanes and multi-use paths, or highway and transit projects.

Each municipal planning organization — along with UDOT and UTA — prioritizes its long-term projects in 10-year phases, and that prioritization typically lasts about four years, according to the website. Then all authorities come together to create a nationwide transport development plan.

How will the plan work?

Funding for these projects typically comes from fuel taxes, vehicle sales taxes, grants and other sources, according to the plan’s website. But it varies.

Information about how and when each project is expected to be funded can be found on the website. The construction of the gondola, for example, is estimated to cost approximately $391,000,000. The website states that funding for the project is limited to the seven-year phase of planned construction between 2043 and 2050.

This “assumed funding” is calculated using current revenue sources – such as fuel taxes and vehicle registration fees – and is expected to amount to $94.4 billion by 2050. The equation also assumes $18.4 billion in additional revenue will be generated from new sources over the years, leaving a deficit of $39.8 billion in the total cost of the plan.

“A project placed on the Unified Plan’s tax-restricted project list does not guarantee that it will ultimately be designated for funding,” the plan’s website states.

To see what Utah transit leaders have planned, visit:

Justin Scaccy

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