A discussion has started on Facebook and I wanted to reach a wider audience with a response because I feel it is important information for residents to know.
Road planning and funding comes from three sources. Each planning and funding source is specific to the type of the road. The cost required to improve and maintain transportation assets typically has a close correlation to the size of the asset. I’ll explain in greater detail, but the concept can be seen in the fact that Eagle Mountain doesn’t maintain I-15 and UDOT doesn’t maintain our residential city streets.
The three authorities are:
- Mountainland Association of Governments (MAG)
- the Municipality (Eagle Mountain City)
There are State roads like Cory Wride Highway or I-15. Projects on these transportation assets are funded directly through UDOT using the Statewide Transportation Improvement Plan (STIP) to prioritize projects. As per UDOT’s website, “The STIP is UDOT’s official work plan for the development of projects through conception, environmental studies, right of way acquisition, planning and advertising for construction for all sources of funds.” The STIP is a 5 year plan and projects on that plan are often many tens of millions.
The next authority, which is where Pony Express lies, is MAG. MAG is a Metropolitan Planning Organization or MPO. There are 4 MPO’s that break the state up into regions. The MPO’s have many responsibilities, but for our purposes, one of the responsibilities is to organize and plan and administer the funding for regional transportation projects within their area. MAG covers Summit, Utah, and Wasatch Counties. Here again, the MPO does not have responsibility for I-15 or for City residential streets. They lie somewhere in the middle as a rule of thumb. They are responsible for the Regional Transportation Plan which covers “regionally significant” transportation infrastructure. Pony Express Boulevard falls under this category. Funding for MAG’s projects come from a combination of State, County and local funds. UDOT maintains oversight over the MPO’s planning and funding, but the regions are better suited to know exactly what is going on within the smaller scale (but still quite large) of their regions and counties. MAG formulates a Regional Transportation Plan for this purpose. It is very interesting and you can take a look at it HERE. you can view the long range prioritization of funding for identified projects HERE. A word of caution… This plan is not the full breakdown of projects. Many of those identified projects are broken down further as will be the case with Pony Express Blvd. Pony Express Blvd. will be widened to three lanes with bike lanes from Porters Crossing to the EM/SS border in 2016. The center turn lane will provide relief for left hand movements which is the primary reason for traffic delays along that road.
Lastly, Eagle Mountain City is responsible for building local roads as well as road maintenence. This includes roads that exist solely within the boundaries of our City and are not deemed to be regionally significant. Residential roads and roads like Ranches Parkway are included in this list. Additionally, the City is responsible for maintenance on the roads within the borders of the City, though we can request funding through MAG for major maintenance projects as needed. All cities within the MPO’s region are competing for the same limited transportation dollars however, and so most often the funds go towards new road construction, widening, and road rehabilitation projects. Transportation is one of Eagle Mountain’s biggest challenges. Because of this, we hired TransPlan last year to complete Eagle Mountains Master Transportation Plan which is nearly complete. We have also mapped and logged every mile of road, curb, gutter, and sidewalk within Eagle Mountain last year. The purpose behind these efforts is to make certain that our transportation infrastructure will stand up to the tremendous strain of our rapid growth. We fell behind on road maintenance many years ago and we made huge efforts to reverse that trend last year with the mill and fill and chip seal projects on Pony Express Blvd and Ranches Parkway. We hope to complete the remaining section of EM Blvd with a mill and fill project this year. Beyond our local roads, I have spent a considerable amount of time advocating for Eagle Mountain’s transportation needs to both MAG and to UDOT. I hold monthly meetings with UDOT’s Region 3 director, and I have monthly meetings with MAG’s Regional Planning Committee on which I serve.
Why don”t we complete more road projects and complete them faster? I think this is the main question on everyones mind. It is simply a matter of money. This year the legislature passed two transportation funding bills which will help fund transportation projects at all levels moving forward. This was greatly needed as almost every City was self funding road projects not out of the B and C road funds, but out of the General Fund (which comes from sales tax and property tax). In conclusion, we continue to work hard to maximize every dollar invested in transportation, and we will continue to advocate for our great need of further investment in regionally significant roads that run through Eagle Mountain. We have made tremendous progress and will continue to do so.