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Utah's Failing Roads Cost Each Driver Up To $640 A Year

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News Service
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Road repoairs in Utah could cost drivers as much as $640 a year -

Abby Albrecht is the executive director of the Utah Transportation Coalition. She said the report shows that nearly a third of urban roadways in the region are described as being in "poor" condition. She said tire damage from potholes, glass damage from rocks and extra fuel expense from congestion are major problems with a far-reaching economic impact.

"If we don't have good, workable transportation infrastructure - it slows down the economy," Albrecht said. "It slows the goods and services, its people sitting in commutes longer, and it just adds onto the deficit of our economy."

She said a big part of the problem is that cities and counties struggle to maintain crumbling infrastructure with limited funding provided through the gas tax via the state and federal governments. However, she said the upside is that Utah lawmakers passed legislation this year allowing local governments to put a transportation-specific tax increase proposal on the election ballot.

Albrecht said the tax increase, which would amount to a portion of a percentage point, would cost the average Utahn about an extra $40 per year, but would provide major public infrastructure improvements.

"It will be dedicated to municipalities transportation needs," she said. "So, preservation and maintenance of existing roadways, sidewalks and safety signals, improvements to bus service."

Albrecht said the sales-tax increase would provide tens of millions of dollars in new money each year, enough to make meaningful infrastructure improvements. According to the TRIP report, bad roads in Los Angeles and San Francisco cost drivers more than $1,000 a year in extra expenses.