EAGLE MOUNTAIN A Utah Transit Authority bus route could be serving both Eagle Mountain and Saratoga Springs by next April if voters want it.
The Mountainland Association of Governments is offering the two cities $200,000 a year in federal grant money for the next three years to help establish the route. However, the cities must agree to join the UTA district, which would require an increase in sales taxes.
Residents may get a chance to vote on the proposal on Nov. 4. City officials are rushing to get the measure on the ballot by the deadline, Sept. 5, Eagle Mountain spokeswoman Linda Peterson said.
The City Council on Tuesday approved a resolution to join UTA. The transportation agency must still hold a public hearing in Eagle Mountain before UTA will approve the annexation into its district. Saratoga Springs must go through the same process.
"(We) have delivered a copy of the resolution to UTA ... in the hope that we can get the public meeting scheduled in time to meet that deadline," Peterson said.
The sales tax would go up a quarter of a percentage point, from 6.20 percent to 6.45 percent in both Eagle Mountain and Saratoga Springs, officials said.
Eagle Mountain Mayor Heather Jackson is concerned that Saratoga Springs won't be able to make the Sept. 5 deadline, but Saratoga Springs Mayor Tim Parker said he has polled the City Council and is assured a resolution to annex into the UTA district will be OK'd, possibly at next Tuesday's meeting.
Jackson is also worried that Saratoga Springs residents won't approve a sales tax hike, since the city recently raised property taxes, but Parker said most residents know they pay the tax without benefiting from it every time they shop outside of Saratoga Springs.
"They're paying it anyway," he said.
If approved, the bus route would begin as an express route picking up in Eagle Mountain and Saratoga Springs before driving directly to Salt Lake City, Peterson said.
Starting in April, the service could include two buses in the morning and two in the afternoon.
"There would be at least one park and ride in Eagle Mountain, possibly two," Peterson said.
Eventually the route could connect with a planned commuter rail station at Thanksgiving Point.
Jackson said she is excited about the possibility of a bus route, particularly since residents are facing construction-caused congestion during the next two or three years.
Redwood Road is being widened now, while work on an east-west artery is expected to start next year that would connect Pioneer Crossing Boulevard with American Fork's Main Street.Additionally, a tunnel is planned under state Route 73, a main highway to Eagle Mountain, for the Jordan River trail.