An interim committee of the Legislature rejected a resolution that would have urged the Utah Department of Transportation and Sandy City officials to reconsider building the so-called "Skier Connect" road.
Opponents of the two-lane road that would connect 90th South and Seventh East with 94th South near 1150 East introduced the resolution during a Wednesday meeting of the Legislature's Economic Development Interim Committee.Executives of the Sandy Mall, which the road would bypass, told lawmakers the name Skier Connect was coined only to sell the project to the Legislature as a boon to tourism.
Sandy City officials have said that the real benefit of the road is to provide an east-west route that will help ease commuter congestion, rather than to guide tourists to the mountain resorts.
The resolution pointed out that the Skier Connect bypasses "a major commercial center in Sandy which is a significant contributor to the Utah employment market and the tax base of Sandy and the state of Utah . . . "
It asked that UDOT carefully assess the economic impact of the road and consider a traffic study paid for by the road opponents that suggested $160,000 worth of improvements to replace the $1.5 million road.
Both UDOT and Sandy City were also urged to reconsider the road "in an effort to resolve Sandy's traffic problems without adversely impacting a major commercial resource . . . "
The resolution died when all three senators on the interim committee voted against it, citing a reluctance to get involved in what they termed a local issue, according to Rep. Kim Burningham, R-Bountiful, the committee's chairman.
Burningham said he would have supported the resolution had a poll of House members been taken because it was the Legislature that appropriated the money for the road.
He said the value of the resolution would have been to add to the pressure being applied to UDOT and Sandy City officials by the Sandy Mall executives and the group they formed, the Coalition for a Better Sandy.
They have already successfully stalled the road in court, when 3rd District Judge Scott Daniels ordered a UDOT hearing to determine whether construction should continue. That hearing was held on Tuesday night, and a decision will be made by the Utah Transportation Commission later this year.