Holladay City Council Supports Local Option Transportation Sales TaxAug 01, 2015 11:56AM ● By Carol Hendrycks
Road Maintenance – A Priority for Holladay
Confused about the new proposed .25% increase in sales tax that will be dedicated to transportation? The State approved a small increase in the gas tax that will take effect in January 2016. The Legislature also gave each county the option of allowing the local voters to increase their sales tax by .25% to fund transportation needs. If this transportation sales tax option is approved by the voters, 40% of that amount will go to cities and towns, 40% will go to UTA and 20% will go to counties. This transportation sales tax will raise approximately $50 million within Salt Lake County.
The Utah League of Cities and Towns indicates that citizens are demanding, but have not had enough funding for projects such as bike lanes, sidewalks, road repairs and better transit service. The local sales tax option is unique compared to other funding sources because it would empower cities to focus on active transportation in addition to traditional modes, which will contribute to improved air quality. And with more safe and active routes that cities provide for people, the more likely people are to be active. The more active they are, the healthier a community becomes. ULCT provided the sample resolution that urges cities to identify projects publicly within the resolution. Every city, including Holladay, has to supplement their gas tax revenue (which is basically flat) with revenues from the general fund.
On June 18, the Holladay City Council will vote to adopt a resolution to support the transportation fuel tax to be included on the November ballot. Holladay Councilman Lynn Pace explained that if the funding passes the first and foremost priority for Holladay is to attend to road maintenance and repairs to avoid future damage. Well- established roads can be maintained for approximately $1 per square foot, but if roads are allowed to deteriorate it costs $6 per square foot to repair those roads and $10 per square foot to replace the roads. The more time waiting to fund the maintenance and repair of the roads, means the more expensive it will be. Pace said, “It’s an opportunity not to be missed because road maintenance and repair is cheaper than road replacement.” Gas tax is the primary source of funds for roads, which remains flat.
Additionally, the local option sales tax is a consumer-based tax that is fairer for the entire transportation system. Currently, alternative fueled vehicles, bikes, buses, and pedestrians use the infrastructure and don’t pay motor fuel tax. The ULCT recognizes and appreciates the societal benefits from those forms of transportation. The local option though would allow those folks to contribute towards the overall transportation infrastructure.
More information about the benefits and next steps about HB:362-Transportation Infrastructure Funding; Gas Tax Reform and Increase and the Local Option Transportation Sales Tax can be found at www.utahtransportation.org and http://le.utah.gov/~2015/bills/static/HB0362.html.