Utah has always been a forward-thinking state. We plan not for today or tomorrow, but for years down the road. This has helped us to accomodate our evolving demographics, global economic shifts, and more.
Currently, Utah is well situated for growth. Our state has maintained a AAA bond rating from all three major rating agencies for consecutive decades. And, while we are careful about issuing bonds for large projects, our stable credit has helped to develop a strong transportation infrastructure historically.
The Utah Department of Transportation recently announced it’s top 10 projects for 2018. Total funding of these projects rounds to $1 billion in transportation spending. Additional UDOT projects bring 2018 total investment costs up to $1.46 billion.
The largest announced project is a $430 million expansion of the I-15 Technology Corridor in Utah County. This project will expand the highway to have six lanes going in each direction, it will improve existing infrastructure, and create a new overpass for east-west access across I-15. The project is slated to finish construction in 2020.
Another major project will widen I-15 in Salt Lake County by adding a new southbound lane from 2100 South to 12300 South. This project will also redesign some of the southbound ramps at the I-15/I-215 south interchange to improve traffic flow, and will widen 7200 South to three lanes from I-15 to Bingham Junction Boulevard in Midvale. Work will begin this spring and is expected to be complete in late 2019.
These developments will improve maneuverability, mobility, efficiency, and decrease commute times. Even though the most recent data suggests that Utah’s mean travel time to work is already substantially lower than the national average, and the 12th lowest commute time in the nation.
And, while Utahns drive to work less and carpool more than their national counterparts, we still believe in growing and improving mass transit systems to lessen our environmental impact and create more sustainable and effective modes of transportation.
An important reason why Governor Herbert supported and signed S.B. 136 Transportation Governance Amendments was because it opens the State’s Transportation Investment Fund for spending on transit projects.
More must be done to ensure we have effective and safe modes of transportation, and that means continuing to look towards the future.
Moving forward, our focus should be on maximizing the return on every tax dollar invested in new infrastructure and finding ways to leverage existing infrastructure wherever possible.
We can reduce congestion and infrastructure costs by bringing jobs, services and other destinations closer to the people and people closer to jobs and services. One way to maintain a thriving, vibrant community and leverage existing infrastructure is to find areas of our communities that can become mixed use centers.
Whether Utah is improving mass transit options, expanding our roadways, or preparing for self-driving cars, it has its eyes on the future.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Q: With population growth, what can Utah residents expect regarding the increased number of people on the roads?
A: Population growth in Utah will inevitably bring more traffic to the state. The Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT) understands the growth that will occur over the next few decades and plans to continue to improve traffic operations and highway modernization. UDOTs team of planners understands the need to make population growth a top priority when planning for future roadways, transit technologies, and road projects. Additionally, UDOT is committed to safety and has a goal of zero crashes, zero fatalities, and zero injuries on Utah roads.
Q: How do cars directly impact Utah’s air quality?
A: Vehicle exhaust is responsible for roughly 48% of Utah’s air pollution. Every resident should actively make changes to lessen this number through purchasing cars with low-emissions, carpooling, Travelwise, and idle less. The Utah Department of Transportation believes a project’s impact on air quality must be highly considered during planning stages to ensure the betterment of air quality and the monitoring of emissions.
Q: Does the Governor foresee an increase in public transit options or an emphasis on improving the already available options?
A: As technology advances, Utah transit has also advanced, and this trend will continue. Utah’s public transit system allows residents to work and residential areas and visitors access to mountains, ski resorts, and more. The governor believes in a robust system that includes funding for bridges, mass transit, and diverse modes of transportation. Utah has always planned for the future of roadways and we look forward to future technologies such as self-driving cars, but we also are always looking to improve upon and develop new transit systems.