Feb 27, 2015 01:56PM
By Sandy Mayor Tom Dolan
“Funding for Sidewalks and Trails” video: http://vimeo.com/114033523
One of the main services Sandy City provides to its residents is transportation. We construct and maintain local roads, sidewalks, trails and work to accommodate transit service. The state gas tax is intended to cover transportation costs, but the funds provided to Sandy City by the gas tax fall far short of what we need.
Our current transportation budget is funded as follows:Local B&C (gas tax) funds: $2.9 millionSubsidized by the city: $2.4 millionTotal transportation needs for FY2014-15: $5.3 million
Like us, most cities in Utah receive less than one-half the funds they need from the state gas tax.
Each year, the mayor and city council review our strategic plan based on both needs, as well as citizen feedback. Our strategic plan currently includes priorities such as greater trail connectivity throughout the city. One such project is the North Rim Trail in Dimple Dell, planned to be a hard surface trail running east/west through Dimple Dell from the regional park, include a pedestrian bridge across State Street and eventually connect with the Jordan River Parkway.
Additional needs include reducing traffic congestion and improving access with a new northbound off-ramp at 106th South and the last section of expansion for Monroe Street.
State law limits the way Utah cities raise transportation-specific funds. That means we have to postpone projects like these for years beyond when they’re needed. In the event of an emergency, like a water main break or a big snow year, our budget gets even tighter. By subsidizing our transportation budget with general funds, fewer funds are available for priorities like public safety, utilities, parks and recreation.
With more flexibility in transportation funding, we would have more influence on our own destiny. We would have more freedom to budget and plan for the things that matter most our residents, such as trails and pavement improvement. That’s why we joined the Utah Transportation Coalition - to advocate for a long-term solution to the way we fund transportation.
Transportation affects air quality, our economic prospects and our quality of life. To learn more about transportation funding issues and how to get involved, visit http://www.UtahTransportation.org