When asked if civic leaders would be able to fund the project necessary to enhance the area’s transportation system, Beattie was pragmatic.
“We can’t afford not to,” he said. “If you want to really stifle an economy, you just let gridlock happen in your communities.”
Beattie noted that the success of light rail and commuter rail in northern Utah, along with recent improvements to area freeways, indicate that sufficient will exists to implement the long-term Unified Transportation Plan.
“We need to continue to do what is needed, and we will continue to see the support (from Utah residents),” he said.
Gochnour said a possible source of revenue needed for improving the system could be a user tax of some kind, such as a motor-fuel tax that charges more to those who use roads more often — “the more you drive, the more you pay,” she explained.
The final decision on what revenue-generating mechanism would be chosen will come from elected leaders, she said.
In order to reach the goal of 183,000 jobs by 2040, Gochnour said Utahns would have to make some sacrifices to help pay for the ongoing maintenance of the existing transportation infrastructure, as well as new upgrades that will be required by 2040.
“It takes a lot of foresight to invest in the future,” she said. “We have to find a way to pay for the needs of a growing economy.”
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