UTA and County Officials Debate Time and Money Commitment

UTA and County Officials Debate Time and Money Commitment

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- Salt Lake County residents could pay up and extra $2.5 billion more in sales taxes to cover the costs of three new rail lines if the Utah Transit Authority gets its way.

The transit agency says it needs to collect sales tax revenues for 50 years to pay for and operate new light rail lines to South Jordan and West Valley as well as a commuter-rail line to Provo.

But county council members say UTA agreed last year to accept tax dollars for only 30 years or until it had collected $2.5 billion.

That agreement did not include a half-century, Councilman Mark Crockett said.

Crockett said he would let UTA collect the sales-tax money until the agency gathered the $2.5 billion needed to build the rail lines. That might take about 37 years.

UTA attorney Bruce Jones acknowledges his agency didn't communicate clearly its need for a long-term funding commitment. A 50-year agreement will assure investors that bonds for the projects can be paid off, Jones said.

UTA is also building rail lines to Draper and the Salt Lake City International Airport.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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