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Unified Transportation Plan Calls for Tax Increases

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 Utah) – Imagine being dropped off at area ski resorts by a train that runs up and down the canyon.
SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 Utah) – Imagine being dropped off at area ski resorts by a train that runs up and down the canyon. That is just one possible project in Utah's Unified Transportation plan, but UTA says it will need more money to make that happen.

Currently UTA collects on average, .60 percent of a penny on every dollar in sales tax revenue. The long term plan calls for one cent for every dollar, but that and other tax increases in the plan could be a bumpy sale.

The Wasatch Front is growing and with that transportation needs are changing.

That's where Utah's Unified Transportation Plan comes in. Put together by government officials and transportation providers and servicers it projects the need through 2040.

"What this is, is talk about long range plans up and down the Wasatch Front about what might be needed in the future, whether it's bus service, a rail line going up and down the canyons," says Remi Barron, UTA Spokesperson.

Those projects aren't going to pay for themselves. The plan also calls for tax increases, like a gas tax increase for future road projects and a sales tax increase for future UTA projects.

"They have to be paid for, or just not undertaken," says Barron.

Some say what shouldn't be undertaken is bonuses for UTA executives, but the company defends that practice.

"Incentive pay at UTA is a goal that was set by the board to make our operation run like a business. It's a small part of the budget, we think it improves performance," says Barron.

As for riders, reviews are mixed. Some say UTA should make due with what it has.

"I think if they just kept to a better budget it would help everyone out," says UTA customer, Joshua Bitton.

Others say the bigger the better, even if that means a tax increase.

"I love the UTA system, I think it's a fantastic project, especially TRAX. I use it everyday," says UTA customer, Devin Olsen.

Where this plan goes from here is up to law makers. They will make the final decision to fund all of the suggestions, some of them or none of them.

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