Transportation and infrastructure are fundamental to maintaining growth and economic mobility. The Salt Lake Chamber recognizes that Utah’s transportation needs are changing and expanding. Transport access from residences to destinations of employment or entertainment depends on a modern, multimodal transportation system. Our transportation approach must be one of strategic vision to ensure it not only meets today’s demands but tomorrow’s future needs. Targeted investment in this space will support improved planning and management of the transportation infrastructure.
The complexity of new modes of product delivery with drones, internet-connected autonomous vehicles and semi-trucks using artificial intelligence to traverse freeways are becoming a reality. In addition, the growing adoption of electric vehicles presents a set of challenges with the sustainability of the gas tax as a long-term transportation funding source. These technological innovations will shape moving goods and people far into the future and raise new issues. This creates a complex framework to consider around land use, housing placement and growing population centers. As the crossroads of the world, our state plays a key role in the transport of goods from east to west, and we should protect this acclaimed status. Utah’s competitiveness depends on investment in repairing and upgrading our aging infrastructure, maintaining resiliency and prioritizing innovation as we address these challenges.
Utah’s Unified Transportation Plan
Utah’s Unified Transportation Plan is a model for the nation and is our guiding vision for transportation planning and investments. The plan comprehensively prioritizes investments needed now and for decades to come.
Wasatch Choice Vision
On Utah’s Wasatch Front, key stakeholders — including the Salt Lake Chamber, Wasatch Front Regional Council, UDOT, UTA, cities and counties, and others — have collaborated to develop a vision for growth and development that will help to maintain and enhance the region’s economic competitiveness and quality of life. The Vision is based on four key strategies that help achieve regional and statewide goals. The key strategies are as follows:
- Provide Transportation Choices: Help us have real options in how we choose to get around and increase the number of easily reached destinations.
- Support Housing Options: Support housing types and locations that we can both afford and work best for our lives.
- Preserve Open Space: Preserve sufficient and easily accessible open lands that provide us with recreational opportunities.
- Link Economic Development with Transportation and Housing Decisions: Create a synergy between these three key building blocks. Enable shorter and less expensive travel to afford us more time and money. Efficiently utilize infrastructure to save taxpayer dollars. Provide housing options and increase housing affordability. Improve the air we breathe by reducing auto emissions.
- We support continued investment in our state’s multimodal transportation system that allows people and goods to move efficiently, safely and reliably across the state and provides quality of life, economic growth and environmental quality. We also support continued investment as a catalyst toward future opportunities related to a potential successful Olympic bid.
- We support smart investments in Utah’s infrastructure as it is critical to staying competitive globally. We also support exploring alternative measures for funding Utah’s transportation infrastructure, including tolling, road-usage charge and public-private partnerships.
- We support strategic and consistent policies that will contribute to increasing safety for all modes of transportation.
- We support local governments’ intentional efforts to plan and zone for mixed-use, multifamily and missing middle housing in coordination with high-capacity transportation and transit service. We also support requiring local governments to consider long-range regional transportation plans as they develop their general plans and zoning decisions.
- We support programs that provide innovation and look to the future of transportation and infrastructure modernization investments, including unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), automated vehicles (AVs) and urban air mobility (UAM).
- We support the investment in a feasibility study for an Earthquake Early Warning System.