Utah has a proud tradition of fiscal responsibility. Our ancestors established a self-sustaining community that has been carried forward through Utah’s long tradition of fiscal responsibility. Stewardship of the state’s financial resources has included careful investment in infrastructure, which supports a vibrant local economy. Economic prosperity, in turn, provides the resources to solve community issues and plan for the future.
HOW UTAH CURRENTLY FUNDS TRANSPORTATION AND TRANSIT
Our state legislature has proven time and again that Utah is invested in maintaining a strong transportation system to preserve and improve our transportation system. In the 2015 general legislative session Utah passed House Bill 362 Transportation Infrastructure Funding Amendments, this comprehensive approach was a monumental effort to address part of the state’s future transportation funding shortfall.
The bill raised the state’s previous state motor-fuel tax of 24.5 cents-per-gallon to a 12% sales tax (equivalent to 29.5 cents-per-gallon) on the statewide average rack price of fuel. The bill sets a fixed floor of $2.45/gallon and a fixed ceiling of $3.33/gallon. This means that as the price of fuel increases, so will the motor-fuel tax, protecting against relative inflationary pressures.
Additionally, the bill provided for a local option sales tax provision that permits counties, cities, and transit a 0.25 sales tax increase as decided by the voters. The local option sales tax is a comprehensive approach that helps local communities invest in transportation close to home in the form of roads, trails, sidewalks, maintenance and transit.
Looking to the future there are still significant needs not yet met by existing funding sources. A prime example was the defeat of Proposition One, the local option in Salt Lake and Utah Counties, during the 2015 election cycle. These counties face significant growth and are the heart of the state’s economic engine. In the years ahead more counties will ask voters to support local funding mechanisms. Additionally, the Legislature will need to regularly evaluate the effects and goals that current funding sources provided for transportation infrastructure.
MAJOR SOURCES OF FUNDING ARE AS FOLLOWS
THE PROBLEM WITH UTAH’S TRANSPORTATION FUNDING
House Bill 362 has helped alleviate the 50% loss in purchasing power since the gas tax was last adjusted in 1997, however it has not fully recovered from the impacts of inflation. Some transportation material costs have increased by as much as 300 percent over the last decade. Despite recent legislative action Utah has only recovered half of this decline. That means we’re still catching up in terms of inflation.
Vehicles have never been more fuel efficient, and they are only getting better. While cars using less gas is great, it means that we collect less gas tax per-capita to fund Utah’s transportation priorities.
WHAT A BETTER TRANSPORTATION SYSTEM MEANS FOR YOU
IMPROVED AIR QUALITY
FOCUS ON PUBLIC HEALTH AND SAFETY
ECONOMIC EXPANSION EFFECTS
In 2013, The Utah Transportation Coalition commissioned a study on the economic impacts of Utah’s long-term transportation needs. Simply said: Utah’s transportation system is the backbone of our economy. If we put the Unified Transportation Plan into action, the result will be a dramatic, positive economic impact over the next three decades.