Before the November election the Utah Legislature met in special session to authorize Salt Lake and Utah counties to issue transit bonds to build four new TRAX lines in Salt Lake and commuter rail in Utah County.
The bonds were a success; the people approved them overwhelmingly.
But the legislative leadership decided to put a dangerous time bomb into the new law. They required counties to divert 25% of the new revenue to corridor preservation and to establish a new process for deciding which projects would receive the funding. The new process is to establish a set of weighted criteria for projects based on common goals for transportation projects. So far no problem.
But the legislature’s Executive Appropriations committee has veto power over the set of criteria. Leaders are expected to try to shift Salt Lake County transit money to their favorite road projects around the state. By shifting the criteria they want to move our transit projects off the top of the list.