We are asked to answer numerous Prop 1 questions a day through Facebook, Twitter and our website. We recently updated the frequently asked questions on our homepage to reflect some of the most common questions.
Here are just a few more we’ve received from Utahns interested in learning more about Prop 1. We encourage you to ask your questions through social media or our website.
Stacy L. asks: “How will we be able to hold UTA accountable for its portion of the funding?”
HB 362 is the law that permits you to vote on Prop 1. By law funds from Prop 1 can only be spent on transportation as in roads, maintenance, sidewalks, transit, etc—not on salaries or overhead. State auditors will ensure that the Prop 1 funds are being spent lawfully according to HB 362’s ordinances. In addition, the UTA Board of Trustees passed the first resolution of its kind prescribing the intended use for Prop 1 funds.
Nicole B. asks: “I could swear that gas tax and car registration tax were designated for road upkeep. ….where does that money go?”
Utah’s transportation has generally relied on a “user fee” gas tax as well as other minor registration fees. The majority of the state gas tax goes to funding state transportation projects. The Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT) receives 70% of the funding for larger infrastructure projects such as highways, freeways and bridges. Cities and counties then split the remaining 30%. With the gas tax last adjusted in 1997, it has lost an estimated 47% in buying power due to inflation. That’s why local funding is insufficient to addresses aging infrastructure and growing populations. In order to satisfy demand cities and counties often have to use general fund money for transportation projects—that means less money for critical services like public safety and utilities.
Autumn H asks: “I wonder how many people actually rely on the alternative transportation?”
UTA has 164,000 boardings on a daily basis. It serves a population of around 2 million, so 164,000 boardings represent a bit more than 8% of the population within the UTA service area. In areas that receive widely accessible transit service, the number is even higher. Transit supports our workforce and students. 37% of students and faculty at the University of Utah use transit to commute to campus. Of all workers in downtown Salt Lake City, 25% take the bus or train to get there. Increased access to transit has proven to increase ridership.