On Monday, November 17, I joined many local and state leaders for the official launch of a statewide public education campaign to highlight the need for increased transportation funding. The event was held in Farmington, with additional events held in St. George and Vernal.
The goal of this initiative is to remind all of us, whether we use transportation or not, we all depend on a functioning and efficient transportation system. From the goods and services from our favorite online retailer that arrive on our doorstep to those who travel miles by train, bus, car or bike to work.
What is less understood is that current state funding is woefully insufficient to meet the maintenance needs of our current infrastructure, much less the additional infrastructure that will be needed to meet the projected growth of a doubling of our population by 2050.
Cities across the state are required to supplement the state funding received out of their general fund, meaning there is less money for public safety, parks and recreation and other services that our residents need. In Sandy City, for example, state funding provides just a little over half of the money necessary to meet the actual transportation costs for our city.
Additional transportation funding is vitally important:
Improving air quality is of concern to us all. By funding a comprehensive transportation plan that includes transit, bicycling and walking paths and trails for active transportation, we reduce emissions, one of the biggest contributors to poor air quality.
Well-maintained transportation infrastructure costs less. Just like brushing your teeth, preventive work means fewer problems like cavities in the future.
Your time is precious and you certainly don’t want to waste it sitting in traffic. There are direct benefits to every citizen if we adequately funding our state’s comprehensive transportation needs.
Additional transportation funding also allows the city to focus on active transportation needs such as sidewalks, bike lanes, trails and sidewalks—a top priority for our citizens.
We support our state legislature as they look at a variety of solutions and ideas and know that we all have the same goal in mind. Fund transportation—for now and for Utah’s future.