SALT LAKE CITY — A bill authorizing up to $1 billion in bonding over four years to speed up transportation projects passed the Senate 28-0 Monday and is headed to the House.
The sponsor of SB277, Sen. Wayne Harper, R-Taylorsville, said it will be up to the Utah Transportation Commission to choose the projects that will give the state the "biggest bang for the buck."
There was no opposition to the bond in the Senate Transportation, Public Utilities, Energy and Technology Committee during a hearing earlier Monday, and no debate in the full Senate.
Carlos Braceras, executive director of the Utah Department of Transportation, said the projects that are high on the list are along I-15 in Utah, Davis and Salt Lake counties.
Those include improvements from the Lehi Main Street exit to state Route 92, near Thanksgiving Point; from Layton's Hill Field Road exit to I-84; and an extra lane southbound from the I-80 interchange to around 10600 South.
If the bill passes, Braceras said he would anticipate it taking several months to settle on the projects and the construction schedule. He said he is hopeful a draft could be circulated for public comment as soon as April.
Braceras said a proposal for bonding would go to lawmakers this summer, with actual construction getting underway in the spring of 2018. That would be several years ahead of the current schedule.
The bill does not add to transportation spending, he said.
"This is accelerating transportation spending," Braceras said. "Bonding is financing. It's not revenue."