Task force recommends against state takeover of UTA

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

SALT LAKE CITY -- A task force survey is recommending the state does not take over Utah Transit Authority.

In a survey released Monday by the state's Transportation Governance and Funding Task Force, members overwhelmingly opposed taking UTA and putting it under the Utah Department of Transportation.

RELATED: Your alternative fuel car is costing Utah money for roads

Putting UTA under UDOT would also have meant Utah would take on the transit authority's $2 billion debt.

"There are still significant concerns we need to address," said Rep. Schultz, R-Hooper, who co-chairs the task force. "One of them being the $2 billion UTA has."

UTA is deep in debt as a result of transit projects, which have been completed ahead of schedule. The task force discussed the idea of the state giving UTA a cut of transportation funding dollars -- but with strings attached.

Sophia DiCaro, a former state lawmaker who sits on the task force, said she believed there was support for some level of oversight for UTA.

Right now, about two-thirds of UTA's budget comes from local sales tax dollars in the counties in which it operates. Transit authority CEO Jerry Benson said he believed it was fair that if UTA gets state funding that it submit to more oversight.

"It's not that UTA doesn't provide good service. It's not that UTA hasn't been effective in planning and delivering projects," he said. "What we're talking about now is an opportunity to have state funding."

The Utah State Legislature would address any oversight and funding requests for UTA when it meets for the 2018 session in January.

Read the survey results here: