Former doctors, lawyers and CPA’s turned legislators often use their past experience to inform their decisions. District 26’s new state senator Ronald Winterton will bring his experience as a business owner in the transportation sector to Salt Lake’s capital building.
Winterton comes to the Utah State Senate after spending a decade on the Duchesne County Commission. Before that the senator started and ran Winterton Transportation. Now that the first-year state legislator has been assigned to the Transportation, Public Utilities, Energy, and Technology board, he said his experience has given him valuable perspective.
“Having been over the roads in the western United States, I’ve seen a lot of good in other states, other cities and the way that they’ve done business and the way that the state of Utah’s done business. I think the state’s done a really good job but they’ve a lot of times focused on the populated areas, of the needs there. The rural areas always seem to be short in getting recognized. So I think that Summit County has some real requests and needs for some roads that really in my opinion would be a safety hazard because of the amount of traffic there. We need some different options.”
In addition to his concerns about Summit County roads, Senator Winterton says he’s been approached by officials about the re-routing of US 40 to the west of Heber.
“Since last February I’ve sat down with Heber City mayor and the town council we’ve talked about it. I’ve talked with the county council. It’s not going to be an easy fix it’s going to be very expensive. Reality is we’re still at the best 10 years before coming up to a solution of that. It’s a double-edged sword in that if you move the trucks off of Main St. that hurts the businesses. They don’t want them there, but they want safety. No matter where you move the traffic flow to it’s going to hurt the businesses in downtown. This is a problem that I wish that they would have had a direction 10-15 years ago so that the development that has happened in the city and the county would’ve been—there would’ve been a corridor preserved for that instead of having to go buy up and tear down people’s homes. There’s not an easy solution to it, whether it’s on the west side, the east side there’s so much development going on that somebody is not going to be happy with the solution.”
As we’ve reported the next step for the by-pass would be receiving $2.5 million from the state legislature for an environmental study of the proposed route. After that they would need to acquire additional properties for the bypass before it could eventually be built.
Senator Winterton noted that the growth near the Jordanelle could lead to additional road infrastructure issues if the area is not carefully planned.
“That’s an area in which we’re not confined as much as downtown Heber. I think that’s one we can tackle pretty easy by adding another lane each direction. I think that would ease that pain and there is room to do that without impacting the development. It’s going to be a good challenge and I’m committed to help work through those. I think the locals need to sit down with UDOT and tell them what their plans are and what they see. So that UDOT can make their plans around them instead of reacting to the growth.”