Transportation officials figure that a new law earmarking 30 percent of growth in sales tax revenue for highway construction will generate more than expected. And the Utah Transportation Commission approved a list of projects Friday on which it hopes to spend that money over the next several years.
Gov. Gary Herbert last year vetoed SB229, which earmarked that sales tax growth for road work, arguing it would hinder the state's ability to address other needs such as education. But the Legislature overrode his veto.
Debate at the time estimated the change could generate $60 million a year for highways, depending on how quickly Utah's economy grows. The Utah Department of Transportation now projects it will generate $70.9 million in 2013 (the first year of such earmarks), $86 million in 2014 and $113.6 million in 2015.