Lawmakers May Have Enough Votes to Pass Legacy Settlement

Lawmakers May Have Enough Votes to Pass Legacy Settlement

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Richard Piatt ReportingThe Legacy Parkway has been talked about for almost a decade and a deal that would clear the way for its construction may now finally get the green light. Utah Lawmakers think they've got enough votes to pass it.

Even this evening key members of legislative leadership are hoping that tomorrow's special session will finally end this Legacy Highway saga. However, there are key members of the House caucus who are not sold on this idea, republicans who still have significant questions about the plan.

At the capitol today UDOT was working hard to clean up any opposition, but there are still enough detractors in the House republican caucus that are causing democrats to have unusual power. Democrats, in fact, could provide the swing vote tomorrow.

The sticking points boil down to legal control and whether the threat of another environmental lawsuit should dictate this settlement.

Rep. Aaron Tilton, Springville: "I'm not gonna support it. There are many others who are downstairs still in meetings, they're not supporting the settlement agreement. We think there are things that can be done, other negotiations need to take place."

Rep. Dave Ure, Kamas: "I am not faulting UDOT, but I'm saying that there's more than one way to skin this cat. I think UDOT has done the best job possible to fulfill the EIS requirements that the army core of engineers and the federal highway commission so that we can get permits and move on."

Those lawmakers feel UDOT's new environmental impact statement is enough to continue on without the threat of a lawsuit; they think the state would win.

Because of all the delays, Legacy is now a $680 million project that's $234 million more than it was originally. The settlement involves and solves some environmental concerns, for example, no billboards. Environmentalists, in turn, promise not to sue.

The vote at this point could very well be there to get the Legacy Highway settlement passed, but as of right now it's not a sure thing.

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