County, city receive funds for transportation studies

Photo by David Gubler/Wikimedia Commons

A joint effort undertaken by Grand County, the City of Moab and other entities to establish a regional transportation plan got a huge shot in the arm earlier this month when the Utah Department of Transportation awarded Technical Assistance Planning funds to the county. County Community and Economic Director Zacharia Levine said in announcing the award that the county and city have already signed cooperative agreements with UDOT, the State Institutional and Trust Lands Administration and San Juan County. The initiative will begin early in 2020.

“The TAP funding we were just awarded will go towards the development of a unified local transportation plan, which is estimated to cost $150,000. The local match is $40,000, with Grand County pledging a greater share,” said Levine. “This effort will dovetail with the regional transportation plan and serve as an update to the county’s 2008 Spanish Valley Transportation Plan, as well as the city’s first ever transportation plan. It will represent a great collaborative planning effort between our jurisdictions, as well.”

Levine said that mostly federal funds would be used to study the third element of the plan – public transit. He said the goal is not to consider a tourism-related system or shuttles to Arches, but a “true public transit system. Of course, any tourism-related transit or park shuttle system will depend on a successful public transit system in general.

“As such, UDOT and the Friends of Arches and Canyonlands national parks have expressed a willingness to contribute to the local match requirement (20%, or roughly $20,000). We’ll start preparing this third phase once we get a little further into the first two,” said Levine.

The funding currently secured will allow local governments to leverage dollars at a ratio of $1 raised locally to every $6 or $7 federal dollars. The ratio will further increase when additional grant funding is provided.

Levine singled out for praise Grand County Roads Supervisor Bill Jackson, Moab City Engineer Chuck Williams and UDOT Planner Jeff Sanders for their leadership and support in pursuing the grant funding. He also thanked other UDOT officials for their support.