The Legislature walked away from this year's session with a bag full of goodies for everyone, transportation included. The funds will pay for new and expanded highway projects all over the state, especially in fast-growing urban counties. When it came to the Mountain View Corridor, however, they decided to play a neat little shell game with the funding pie.
The short of it is that $34M in taxes collected by Salt Lake County will now be used to make bond payments on the land for the highway. Considering that both Bluffdale and West Valley City have both come out in opposition to tolling, it makes sense to but the land now to prevent tolling later. What doesn't make sense, however, is to deprive the county of funds that are badly needed to upgrade east-west corridors and make improvements to major roads all over the county. While we need to invest in transportation as a critical need and a top-tier state responsibility, this is definitely not the way to do it.
It's just another in a long string of bills that make legislators, in the Deseret News' words, "de facto city council members or county mayors." With all of this meddling in local affairs, one has to wonder why the state even bothers letting us elect a mayor or choose city council members. I suppose without a Rocky Anderson in office, there's no justification for striking back at Salt Lake County. It all goes back to needing state legislators to deal with state issues, not local ones. I say again: Legislators, stay out of local government.
Keep on pushing, though. Sooner or later, we'll push back.