Except for upgrading and maintaining the rail track between Heber and Bridal Veil Falls in Provo Canyon, the state may soon be out of the Heber Creeper business.
The Senate voted Tuesday to rescind funding for the train purchase and return $1.2 million to the General Fund. Legislators in the waning hours of the 1990 session appropriated $1.6 million to buy the historic railroad but the owner repeatedly rejected the state's offers. The bill was forwarded to the House.Sen. Alarik Myrin, R-Altamont, said $830,000 should remain in the Department of Transportation budget and $370,000 should return to the General Fund. Myrin said he wanted UDOT to use the money to improve the Provo Canyon Highway because he is personally acquainted with a number of people whose family members have died in automobile accidents along the narrow, congested roadway.
While he empathized with Myrin's position, Sen. Scott Howell, D-Sandy, said the $1.2 million should be returned to the General Fund. The remaining $400,000 will be used to upgrade the train tracks and right-of-way to protect the state legally in case a private buyer purchases the railroad.
- A once-controversial bill that would limit the use of "photo-radar" to school zones and area of documented high-speed incidents passed the House without fanfare Tuesday.
SB59, sponsored by Myrin, had passed the Senate and was forwarded to Gov. Norm Bangerter for his signature. The technology has been used in Garland and Layton. West Valley City and Sandy also have experimented with photo radar.
The bill also requires that signs warn drivers photo radar is in use and that the equipment is operated by a peace officer.