Three weeks down and four to go of the 2022 General Legislative Session. This update provides highlights from the week, including where we stand with legislative appropriations, legislation you should know about (such as a new bill related to UDOT and UTA’s cooperation on state-funded transit capital development projects, and an update on Housing and Transit Reinvestment Zones), and an opportunity to sign on to a joint active transportation letter of support. 

Appropriation subcommittees met again this week as they continued to hear various requests for appropriation (RFAs). As they are nearing the end of those requests, the committees have started the process of prioritizing their funding lists which they’ll submit to the Executive Appropriations Committee. We should see the committee’s ranked lists near the end of next week, as the subcommittees finish their work. The EAC will then meet over the coming weeks, creating their own priority lists, and finalizing revenue estimates near the end of the month, as they put together the final appropriation bills.

As a reminder, WFRC’s legislative funding priorities are rooted in the Wasatch Choice Vision and the shared principles for state infrastructure investment to create a balanced, multimodal (roadway, transit, active transportation) approach to transportation funding. Funding priorities that we continue to pursue, along with our partners, include:

  • $232 million to replace previously authorized FrontRunner bonds. Note that this was funded in the Infrastructure and General Government base budget, and signed by the Governor this week. This WFRC priority will now allow the Transit Transportation Investment Fund (TTIF) to be freed up – rather than being obligated to debt service – for other transit projects throughout the state. 
  • $46 million for regionally significant active transportation projects. See the sign-on letter below to share your support of active transportation funding with the legislature and the Governor.
  • Funding to advance roadway projects as prioritized in Utah’s Unified Transportation Plan. One-time funding utilized to advance roadway projects to address travel demands.

  • Planning for Growth 
  • $1.65 million ongoing funding for technical planning assistance. $1.05 million of which would go to Associations of Governments (of which WFRC is one of seven in Utah) for training, grant writing, and other technical assistance, as well as a $600,000 increase for UDOT’s Technical Planning Assistance Grant Program. Technical assistance will help aid our local governments as they are challenged to meet the increasing demands of planning for growth, transportation, housing, and economic opportunity.
  • $1 million one-time to fund a statewide conversation on growth. The conversation can help residents statewide understand the implications of the various ways that growth might unfold, and the importance of planning today for tomorrow.  
  • It is worth noting that both of these recommendations are requests from our partners at the Governor’s Office of Planning and Budget (GOPB), and have been endorsed by the Unified Economic Opportunity Commission (UEOC). They were heard last week in the Executive Offices and Criminal Justice appropriations subcommittee. If you would like to reach out to the members of the committee and express your support, you can find a list of those members HERE.  

Please Sign On: Active Transportation Funding Letter
In 2021, the legislature appropriated $35 million towards regionally important active transportation projects as a first step in furthering development of a safe, family-friendly bicycle backbone network. That allocation funded projects in Cache, Weber, Davis, Salt Lake, Tooele, Summit, Utah, and Washington Counties.

This year, as the legislature considers authorizing additional investments in Utah’s transportation systems during this legislative session, a broad coalition of community leaders representing public, private, and community stakeholders across Utah are joining together to urge the legislature to follow-up last year’s active transportation investment by approving the $46 million recommended in the Governor’s budget. This funding would allow the state to invest in high priority, regionally important “active transportation” projects that are ready for investment throughout the state, including those reflected on this MAP and as identified by Utah’s Unified Transportation Plan

lease show support for safe, family-friendly bicycle networks by taking two minutes to add your name to the LETTER!

Legislation You Should Know About

  • HB 322, Public Transit Capital Development Modifications. Yesterday, Ben Winslow at Fox13 reported after an interview with House Majority Leader Mike Schultz, that a bill supported by legislative leadership would transfer some transit capital development project oversight from UTA to UDOT, and would soon be released. House Bill 322 by Representative Kay Christofferson was released this afternoon, and if passed, would (1) Transfer oversight of transit capital development projects for which the State of Utah has financial participation to UDOT, and (2) Require increased coordination between UDOT and UTA in the development of these projects and how state funds are expended. UTA will continue to manage all other transit projects, as well as fully operate and maintain the system.

  • Our partners at UTA responded, saying that: “UTA understands the state is poised to invest a lot of money in transit going forward and they would want to have oversight. They would want to be able to know where the dollars are going and the projects that are being developed. We understand that. We’re all set to work and prepared to work with UDOT to make sure everything does develop going forward because it is so important to the growth of the state."
  • UDOT released a statement saying that: "Utah’s population is growing every day, and this means we need a comprehensive transportation system that provides safe, effective choices for all users. Our state’s leaders continue to make significant investments in improving and promoting all modes of transportation, including transit. We will continue to work with the governor, legislature and our partners at UTA in planning and preparing for Utah’s future." 

At WFRC, we know that as the state’s population continues to grow, we must make strategic investments in multimodal transportation. As the State of Utah is starting to make significant investments in transit, the State has a reasonable desire for oversight and engagement in the capital development process. We know that our partners at UDOT and UTA will closely collaborate on any projects to ensure seamless project delivery and enhancement of our transit system. 

  • SB 140 Housing and Transit Reinvestment Zones (HTRZ) by Senator Wayne Harper passed out of committee with a favorable recommendation, and support from our partners at the Utah League of Cities and Towns, Governor’s Office of Economic Opportunity, Utah Transit Authority, Salt Lake County, and others. In short, SB140 would authorize a limited number of additional HTRZs around light-rail transit and bus rapid transit (BRT) stations, in addition to FrontRunner stations as is now allowed. You can find WFRC’s summary of SB140 HERE

WFRC Bill Tracker
As a reminder, you can stay up to speed on the legislation that has either a direct or indirect impact to the work of WFRC and its partners with our WFRC 2022 Bill Tracker which is updated regularly. The tracker shares brief summaries, bill status, and recommended positions of “support”, “oppose”, or “neutral”. If you have any questions about the bills or the recommendations included, please feel free to contact me.

You can also find the Utah League of Cities and Towns bill tracker HERE, and the Utah Association of Counties bill tracker HERE

We hope you all are faring well during this busy time of year. If we can ever be of help or assistance to you, or answer any questions, please let us know.

Miranda Jones Cox