SALT LAKE CITY — With populations expected to grow exponentially on the west side of the Wasatch Front, one Utah lawmaker is hoping to get a proportional piece of the state's mass transit pie.
"We're asking the Utah Transit Authority to make sure that areas where there is growth are serviced by buses and maintained," said Sen. Karen Mayne, D-West Valley City, who is backing SB222 to address the matter.
Mayne said the southwestern Salt Lake County communities contain 52 percent of the population along the I-15 corridor, yet the east side is home to the majority of mass transit services, including bus lines, TRAX and FrontRunner trains.
Mayne said she's concerned that with projected population growth and the building of the Mountain View Corridor, an alternative north-south freeway on the west side of the county, that big manufacturing companies coming to the area will have trouble bringing in workers without mass transit options nearby.
"Transit it the only way we can feed this valley," she said. "We live between two mountains."
SB222 would require UTA and the state Legislature to consider population growth when allocating funds for transportation projects.
"There is some concern on the west side that the services the population merits have not been delivered," said West Jordan lobbyist Rob Jolley. "We're not expecting to get everything we want, but hopefully we will get more than we are currently receiving with regard to service."
The Senate Business and Labor Committee approved the bill Wednesday, but mentioned some necessary language changes to it before it would pass the full Senate.