Addressing Transportation Funding Needs

Addressing Transportation Funding Needs
Posted on 02/23/2015
Kelvyn Cullimore, Jr.

As I meet with other mayors from around the state of Utah, one of the things we all have in common is the growing demand on our limited resources to fund transportation and infrastructure needs in our communities.  Of course, the specific needs vary widely from community to community. But the bottom line for all of us is the same: we have growing needs being funded by a flat revenue source.

Transportation is truly the backbone of our economy as well as our quality of life here in Utah. A quality transportation system offers personal benefits to everyone, including more time with families, a cleaner environment and better health. Of course, when I speak about transportation in this sense, I’m not just talking about the maintenance and construction of roads – although that is part of it. But I’m also talking about other transportation needs, including sidewalks, trails, bike paths and mass transit – the very things that Cottonwood Heights residents often speak to me about. It is clear to me that here in our community as well as elsewhere in the state, we need a comprehensive transportation approach that provides for multiple positive outcomes.

Unfortunately, it is equally clear that, like all Utah communities, Cottonwood Heights has a variety of transportation needs that can no longer be adequately addressed with the one source of dedicated funding we’ve had in the past. The gas tax provides less than half of the necessary funds to meet our needs, and can only be used for local roads, not for the other transportation priorities in our city. That is why we have joined the Utah Transportation Coalition to add our voice to other cities in asking for additional and more flexible funding options.

We do the best we can with the funding we receive from the local gas tax funds, but there just isn’t enough money there to meet all of our transportation infrastructure issues. So when we come up short and we have a pressing need for infrastructure construction or maintenance, we have to pull funds from other areas – such as public safety – to meet those needs. If we continue to do this, our community will see a decline in essential services. This is the sad reality we face as we continue to make choices with the infrastructure funding that is currently available to us.

That is why, as your mayor, I join the Utah Transportation Coalition in supporting the state’s Unified Transportation Plan, which addresses the diverse needs of Utah’s communities – now and in the future. It also embraces our traditional Utah values of wise and careful planning, cooperative problem solving and fiscal responsibility. Yes, it requires more funding than is currently allocated for transportation. But I believe that additional funding will result in noticeable investments in infrastructure that will maintain the quality of life that Cottonwood Heights citizens have come to expect.  Absent such funding, infrastructure can do nothing but deteriorate over the coming years, making our community a less desirable place to live.

To learn more about this effort, please visit