Are my taxes going up to pay for this project?
There are no new taxes associated with this project. There is a dedicated sales tax that was approved by voters in 2006 that is helping to pay for this project. $75 million of the project is from a federal grant that stems from the gas tax that we pay to the Federal Government every time we fill up our vehicles.
Here is the language of the ballot question in 2006 naming BRT as one of the projects:
How is this project going to be funded?
The total Provo Orem Transportation Improvement Project includes both the BRT project and the widening and improvement of University Parkway and totals $190 million. The University Parkway road improvements will total about $40 million in state transportation funds. The BRT project is funded at $150 million from the following sources:
- $75 million federal grant coming from federal gasoline tax dollars
- $65 million in local transit sales taxes that are already being collected – no new tax revenues are needed
- $7 million in local funding from the value of right of way leases approved by UDOT, Orem and Provo
- $3 million in local design funds already spent and cost savings associated with constructing both the BRT and UDOT projects with the same construction team
The $65 million local match is being derived from a bond approved by Utah County from existing transportation and transit sales taxes. Utah County and UTA have an agreement that after the first 12 years of the bonds, UTA will take over payment on the bonds and reimburse Utah County for the principal and interest they have paid so that all of the County funds are whole. An extensive analysis of both Utah County and UTA’s finances done by an independent financial consulting firm ensured that this arrangement would work.
What happened with the petition that people signed trying to stop the project?
The petition was to stop a lease agreement between the City of Orem and UTA. The lease was for approximately 200 feet of road on 400 W (between 1200 S and University Parkway). This lease allows UTA to have dedicated lanes on a city road. The rest of the project in Orem will be on State roads, so they did not need any City approval.
The individuals leading the petition have hired an attorney and are challenging this lease (along with a similar lease in Provo) in court. The case was heard for the city of Provo and the court decided that the petition is not legal. Orem’s case will be heard at the end of June.