Officials Still Considering Toll Road

Officials Still Considering Toll Road

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TOOELE, Utah (AP) -- State transpiration officials are still debating whether a new transportation corridor should be built as a toll road.

The proposed Mountain View Corridor Highway would connect the west side of Salt Lake County with northern Utah County. The current plan would build an eight-lane highway at a cost of between $2 billion and $3 billion. There are two proposed routes for the highway with a connector road at the southern end.

A final plan for the road is about a year away and will be based in part on the outcome of an environmental impact study, said TeriAnne Newell, the project manager for the Utah Department of Transportation.

The decision making process includes looking at the feasibility of making the new highway a toll road. And whether the road is built as a toll road or not could change the environmental impact study, Newell said at a meeting of the state Transportation Commission.

"The impacts that could be different are traffic impacts. We're going to have a certain number of people that don't want to use a toll facility, so they will be using other roadways," Newell said. "It also has a socio-economic impact. You have people who don't necessarily have credit cards and may not be able to use a toll facility for that reason."

Technology could make the process of paying tolls seamless for drivers, while preserving the same right-of-way foot print as non-toll roads, Newell said.

Among the technology options: a prepaid toll sticker placed on the dash of each car, or a transponder with a built-in radio antenna that would automatically charge the driver as they travel.

Newell said UDOT is currently preparing a travel demand study and revenue study to see "what revenue you could actually get of out a toll facility," she said.

Also to be decided is which of several routes through both Salt Lake and Utah counties will be used for the road. Depending on the alignment, between 240 and 270 homes in Salt Lake County would be removed to build the highway, and between 20 and 140 homes in Utah County.

(Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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