Only the November election now stands in the way of hourly downtown bus service becoming a reality.
In last week's Utah Transit Authority board of directors meeting, the board voted unanimously to accept the city's request for annexation into the county's bus service. This week, members of the City Council voted unanimously to accept UTA's terms of annexation.UTA is proposing hourly service that would be an extension of its current No. 8 route, which runs through Provo and Orem with stops at or near Brigham Young University, Utah Valley Community College, University Mall and the East Bay Industrial Park. If the annexation passes in the Nov. 6 general election, service to Springville could start as soon as spring 1991.
The extension would continue south onto I-15 and take U-75 into the city's downtown areas before making its return trip. Transit planner Kip Billings told the Deseret News earlier that, of the three routes he had proposed to UTA officials, the No. 8 extension fit in best with both UTA's and residents' desires for service.
According to UTA's community relations specialist Craig Rasmussen, funding for the service will come from commitment of one-quarter of 1 percent of the city's sales tax revenues.
"Even though in some cases that funding is only a minor percentage of UTA's operating costs, it does help defray some of the costs somewhat."
The funds provided for the service could be as much as $20,000, and if the statewide food-tax repeal movement fails, an additional $4,000 could go toward increased route service, Billings said in an earlier interview.
Springville could have a say in future UTA actions, depending on its possible representation on UTA's board of directors. Currently, only cities with a population higher than 26,000 can actually have a voting member on the board. Springville is well below that.
However, Rasmussen said both Provo and Orem have members on the board, and the four northern Utah County cities also receiving UTA service (American Fork, Lehi, Lindon and Pleasant Grove) have one member representing them. Any of those three board members could represent Springville.
November's general election could end a more than three-year struggle by city officials to get Springville annexed into bus service, Mayor Delora Bertelsen said.
"What we (the council) wanted most is to get the issue out on the ballot, so our citizens can make the final decision. So many of them have expressed an interest on it for quite some time."
Bertelsen said a recent Dan Jones poll, which showed 79 percent of Springville residents questioned were either generally or strongly in favor of the service, indicates residents are excited about the prospect of the hourly service.
Though the service is not quite as extensive as city officials originally hoped, she said the council realizes UTA's initial concerns about the Springville annexation, such as the extent of its use and the amount of revenue generated by the sales tax.
"We know the routes could possibly be extended further and they're not going to be set in concrete. A lot of this routing is certainly a good beginning though. This is what we've wanted for a long time and it's up to the citizens now."