Monday, June 17, 2013

Council Hears Presentation on Transportation Fee

The Council heard a presentation discussing how a transportation utility fee could be an answer to the challenge of funding Provo’s roads as a long term replacement for bonding.

The presentation was offered by Vern Keeslar of InterPlan, a transportation planning firm, and outlined four different ways a transportation safety fee could be implemented, with the goal of equal and fair participation in the system by everyone using Provo’s roads.

 “Good roads cost less,” Keeslar said. “Maintaining roads to a good standard is going to cost less than letting roads wear out and rebuilding infrastructure every 10 to 15 years.”

 Keeslar said one key advantage to a transportation utility fee is how it allows equal participation of all people who are having an impact on Provo’s roads. According to Keeslar, Provo is unique in that approximately 55% of Provo acreage parcels are exempt from paying property tax, yet those property owners have a significant impact on Provo’s roads.

A study by Utah State University’s LTAP, Local Technology Assistance Program, has shown that over the next ten years, Provo’s roads will require $42 million in repair and maintenance costs.  Those costs indicate a need for $4.2 million per year in road funding, however, Provo’s public works department believes that with some smart planning, it will be possible to meet the needs of maintaining roads with just $3 million per year.

Currently, the city funds roads using a variety of sources, including bonding, funds from the state, and from vehicle registration fees.  The Council is shying away from bonding due to inefficient use of bonded monies through interest payments, and the fact that bonding is not keeping up with increasing maintenance costs.
The Council ultimately agreed that further consideration and discussion was necessary regarding the merits of the proposed options, and will revisit the issue at a later date.

What do you think should be the solution to Provo’s long term road funding issue? Let your Council member know by either posting a comment to this post, or by contacting them directly here

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