Imagine driving down State Street and making every green light.
Sen. Alarick Myrin, R-Altamont, wants Utahns to experience the convenience of synchronized traffic lights whether they live in Salt Lake City, St. George or Vernal."If you visit a city like Denver, you can drive down some streets without ever stopping. I think it goes without saying what it would do to move traffic and what it does for fuel savings, air quality and all that," said Myrin, sponsor of SB59.
Clint Topham, planning director of the Utah Department of Transportation, told the Senate Transportation Committee Monday that the state has attempted to time and coordinate its traffic signals for a number of years, working in cooperation with city and county governments.
"One of the main problems has been manpower and staffing to keep up with this," Topham said.
An analysis of the fiscal impact of the bill was not yet available but Myrin said data from other states indicate synchronizing lights saves fuel and helps improve air quality.
The bill would direct UDOT to implement a traffic signal coordination system to synchronize signals under certain circumstances. The cost of implementing the system would be shared by the state and affected counties and cities.
The committee unanimously approved the bill.
- Should snowmobile and dirt-bike riders pay their own way to play?
The practice of spending state gasoline tax for off-highway vehicle recreational improvements drew fire from members of the Senate Transportation Committee Monday.
"If we went to watch a basketball game, we'd pay. We're not getting a rebate. These people buy these things and they expect to be subsidized. That's totally wrong," said Sen Rex Black, D-Salt Lake.
A bill sponsored by Sen. John Holmgren, R-Bear River City, would increase the account from $400,000 to $600,000 to pay for services such as establishing and maintaining snowmobile and dirt-bike paths. The account is part of the State Transportation Fund, which is funded by the state's gasoline tax.
Holmgren said he considers the account as an "investment" in Utah. "It (off-highway vehicle ridership) promotes Utah and encourages people to visit our great state," he said.
While he did not disagree that off-road enthusiasts stir interest in Utah's outdoors, UDOT's executive director Eugene Findlay said the funding should come from economic development coffers, not transportation.
Despite the concerns, the bill was passed out of committee by a 3-2 vote. Black and Sen. Eldon Money, D-Spanish Fork, voted against the measure.