Population projections are predicting a 60% increase in the next 30 years and the Utah Foundation says the state’s transportation system cannot sustain that growth. They say current tax levels will leave an 11 billion dollar deficit when it comes to funding road projects.
The foundation says the best way to prepare for that future growth is to hike the gas tax now. Morgan Cotti is the research director for the Utah Foundation and says their research took about a year and a half.
“We looked at a lot of different options and the ones that we felt were feasible, we outlined the pros and cons of those…where possible we did the economic projections to see what the revenues would be,” Cotti said.
The proposed tax could be as much as 10 cents more per gallon. It would fund new roads and maintain existing ones and even includes money for mass transit. But commuters aren’t the only ones who would feel the pinch. Burningham trucking makes its money on the blacktop, so higher gas taxes mean more out of their pockets. The company’s CFO Rob Crowley says it’s eventually the customer who will pay.
“That cost would increase the cost of your food in the stores because the companies that truck that product would have to pay more to get it there, so they would pass it on to the customers,” Crowley said.
In most states the transportation and public transit costs come from the state. Utah is one of only 5 whose public transit funds come completely from local taxes and federal funds.