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Richard Piatt ReportingUtah's Legislature is about to make a 685-million dollar decision at its second special session of the year. It's do or die for the Legacy highway project today. This is the session where a compromise deal will get voted up or voted down, and there are a number of House Republicans who are hoping it gets voted down.
The compromise calls for the project to start next spring. In a deal with environmentalists, the Governor and key lawmakers have agreed to make the highway a parkway. That means UDOT would use noise-reducing pavement, trucks would not be allowed on the road, lanes won't be built as wide, and there would be no billboards along the parkway.
There are about 20 House Republicans, however, who don't like the idea of the state catering to the environmental lobby. They think a new Environmental Impact statement will stand up to any new legal challenge, and they think the state is vulnerable to a lawsuit again anyway.
Ironically, this House Republican schism has given House Democrats power: they now represent the swing votes.
Early indications are they will help pass the compromise, but it won't be ovr until it's over.