Transportation will take a $35 million hit in the Legislature's belt tightening, a cut that is coupled with an additional $35 million shortfall due to shrinking gas tax revenues.
The Utah Department of Transportation will have a $35 million reduction of the $90 million budgeted for the Critical Highway Needs Fund through 2012, then transfer in 2013 to the Transportation Investment Fund. An additional $5.5 million will be garnered from cutting a highway-related sidewalk construction fund and the delay of two environmental impact studies.
One of those studies is focused on a roadway spanning Utah Lake, and the other looking at improvements to Seep Ridge Road, a 100-plus-mile road through the Uintah Basin that provides access to potential resource development areas. Logan Airport also loses $250,000 that had been slated for efforts to attract regional carrier Frontier Airlines.
UDOT Deputy Director Carlos Braceras said that no current projects will be affected by the cuts.
The agency was already hurting this year because of declining revenues in the gas tax collection. Because gas is taxed by the gallon, the state loses money when people use less gas because of higher gas prices and better fuel mileage.