The few Tooele County commuters who crowd into a 19-seat van each day at 6:30 a.m. to ride into Salt Lake City aren't the only ones who want bus service.
A recent Utah Transit Authority poll said 75 percent of the residents in north Tooele Valley would support a quarter-cent sales tax hike for daily bus service into Salt Lake County.Based on that support, the UTA board Wednesday unanimously approved a resolution annexing Tooele City, Grantsville and four communities in unincorporated Tooele County into the UTA bus service district.
The County Commission and both city councils also approved the resolution, which means the proposal goes to voters on Nov. 6.
"The city has progressed to a point that further progress is dependent on public bus service," Tooele Mayor George Deihl said.
"You pass the resolution today, and we will take care of the vote come November," he told the UTA board.
Because of Tooele City's population and potential to generate most of the tax revenue financing the bus service, the annexation of Grantsville and areas of the county is conditional upon Tooele's annexation. Communities in the unincorporated areas of Tooele County seeking service are Lake Point, Erda, Stansbury Park and Lincoln.
But with the high percentage of pre-election support, it's expected the annexation will pass. If it does, UTA hopes to collect an estimated $216,078 in annual sales tax revenue to fund peak-hour express service to and from Salt Lake City as well as daily service to Magna and west Salt Lake County.
1980 census figures show 1,100 Tooele County residents commute to Salt Lake City and about the same number travel to the Tooele Army Depot daily for work, bus service supporters said.
Initial plans call for four express round trips between Tooele - including the Army depot - and Salt Lake City on I-80 during morning and late-afternoon peak hours. During the day, bus service will connect communities in northern Tooele Valley with Magna and west Salt Lake County.
UTA said service will change and expand with future demand.