Transportation governance bill passes


by Becky GINOS

bginos@davisclipper.com

UTAH STATE CAPITOL—With growth in Utah expected to double in the coming years, the legislature took steps this session to address transportation needs for that influx of people.  One such move was the passage of SB136, Transportation Governance Amendments.

“A transportation task force was created last year and met over the summer,” said Davis County Commissioner Bret Millburn who is also a member of the task force. “The overriding goal was to identify the steps we could take to address the population growth and transportation. It (bill) changes the governance of UTA from a part-time 16-member board to a three-member full-time commission.”

The focus will be on oversight of management on a day to day basis, said Millburn. “Salt Lake County will have a seat, Davis/Weber in consultation with Box Elder County will also have a seat. The legislative bodies will forward several names and the governor will make the appointment and the Senate will confirm.”

SB136 is now waiting for the governor’s signature. “The goal is to have three members seated by the first of November,” Millburn said. “The exciting thing is the opportunity for additional resources to address transit needs. I applaud the legislature for knowing and understanding they need to participate in transit. They know our challenges with congestion, population growth and air quality.”

Millburn said $5 million will come from the state. “This is the first time the state has put money into transit,” he said. “The other big piece when it’s fully implemented is that it comes back to local government, particularly the county.”

It will add 2 cents on every $10 to transit, he said. “It will be dedicated to transit and won’t go directly to the transit agency. It goes to the county who will work with transit on how it’s spent.”

This is a great opportunity for south Davis County, he said. “It will go a long way to additional opportunities for a Salt Lake to Davis BRT line and increasing the frequency on other services.”

Millburn is pleased with the legislature’s efforts. “This is very forward thinking,” he said. “They’re taking bold steps for what we’ll be facing in growth. This is a culmination of all the work the task force did in the summer. The population is going to double and we have to address these issues now and lay out a strategy so we don’t wait until we’re so clogged up we can’t breathe. It’s a big win for the state.”

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