UDOT Creates Surplus of Money

UDOT Creates Surplus of Money

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Jed Boal ReportingIn an era of tight budgets for state agencies any surplus stands out. The Utah Department of Transportation has extra money to roll back into the roads thanks to a recent streamlining of operations.

As the fall construction season winds down UDOT is looking ahead at its never-ending list of roads to widen and surfaces to repair with a little extra money to spend. After a self-imposed evaluation this summer UDOT trimmed 98 full-time jobs to create a multi-million dollar surplus. No one was laid off, 70 jobs were vacant due to a hiring freeze, the others will be vacated through attrition.

John Njord, UDOT-Exec. Director: “Reduce our overhead as a department and put more of our resources back out on the road where people expect it to go."

Cracking surfaces and clogged arteries are always on UDOT's list of things to do. With an annual construction budget of about 200 million dollars it's not a large percentage, but it will get some work done.

John Njord, UDOT-Exec. Director: “This year we anticipate a couple million dollars in savings. Next year it will be about five million and we anticipate five million every year after that."

UDOT will use the money to get started on projects that otherwise wouldn't get funding for several years. It has identified 16 projects across the state that should get done. The transportation commission will decide which ones it can do for seven million dollars.

Widening, repaving, adding passing lanes, there are multi-million dollar projects in each of the state's four regions. The state transportation commission meets Friday to decide which projects to fund.

John Njord, UDOT-Exec. Director: “Because we've been able to realize these savings, the savings will go directly to service the customers we serve."

The needs of the roads far exceed the state's ability to keep up. The state's network of roads is a lot like an old home, plenty of projects, not quite enough money or time to ever get it all done.

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