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Summit County Council ponders $140M transportation plan

KPCW Radio

As talk about hosting a second Winter Olympics in Utah warms up, the Summit County Council is taking another look at its long-term transportation plan to see what future projects are needed and who pays for them.

The price tag for all of the projects listed on the plan totals nearly $140 million. Ranked as the most important projects to complete are separating the grades at the intersections of Olympic Parkway, Newpark Blvd, and Ute Blvd. to keep them from intersecting with SR 224.

Separating those means 224 would either go above or below the side streets. Those two projects alone top $54 million. Summit County Council member Malena Stevens says the county doesn’t have the money to do the work on its own.

“With that, we obviously are going to need additional funding,” Stevens said. “And that's likely going to mean some sort of collaboration and like hopefully grant funding as well. Like I said this is not indicative of what projects have been funded or going to be built in first, in the near future. This is just stating that these are the areas that really need attention.”

Utah Olympic leaders have said one benefit of hosting another Winter Games in Utah would be the infrastructure money that comes with it. Stevens says Utah can pay for the projects whether or not it hosts another Games.

“I think that at this point, we're looking at whatever options that we can -- at statewide funding, at grant funding, at potential ARPA [American Rescue Plan Act] grants, at UDOT collaborations,” Stevens said. “We're looking at a broad swath of opportunities and options because we were not sure who's going to be awarded certain grants and what the climate and the landscape is going to look like in the next few years. So, we're approaching this in in multiple ways and trying to see where we can get the funding for it in whatever capacity.”

Still, Stevens says there are opportunities that come with the Olympics, despite the impacts.

“We're not we're not looking at the Olympics as something that's going to put Park City on the map - that's going to boost our economy, that's going to drive additional people here,” she said. “The elevator pitch that we're really looking at is this is an opportunity for us to leverage resources to be able to improve some of the issues that we have potentially infrastructure that we can really use the attention and potential dollars to be able to fix long standing or even if not fixed and prove long standing issues that we have within our community.”

She added that there will be a community process with public hearings and surveys so that the community is onboard with the direction the council takes moving the long range transportation plan forward.