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Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Legacy Parkway

By Sheldon Killpack
District 21

Finally, a "viable" alternate route is on the horizon for Davis County and Northern Utah. The Governor's Office and the Legislative working group were able to strike an agreement with the people suing over Legacy Highway, which will allow us to move forward with the project, pending final approval of legislation in a special session. If all goes well, tires will roll on the "parkway" in 2008.

Frankly, we don't like much of the agreement or the process (which is probably why they call it a compromise) - but we can live with it. Opening that additional north-south route will immediately reduce traffic on I-15 in Davis County by 30 percent.

Main features of the "Agreement in Principle" include the following:
  • No further litigation
  • A speed limit of 55 mph
  • Quiet pavement (rubberized asphalt instead of cement)
  • No billboards
  • No big trucks - except for emergencies
  • Walking Trails to the east and west - subject to further approval
  • Width limited to four lanes
  • Additional features to maximize environmental quality
  • Mediation provisions to help avoid costly legal train wrecks in the
  • future
  • $2.5 million to study Bus Rapid Transit and Light Rail Transit options
  • All provisions in the final settlement will terminate no later than 2020
The most significant criticism of the compromise agreement to date is regarding the prohibition of large trucks on the Parkway until 2020. Some claim that this will mean an increase in cost to the consumer. I beg to differ with this argument. Currently, when I-15 shuts down commerce has absolutely NO viable alternate route - trucking comes to a complete stop. With this agreement, trucks will move onto Legacy during during accidents, disasters, or road construction. There will be a way north, come heck or high water. And this is Utah, so either one is part of our vocabulary.

If you want more detail you can view a copy of the Agreement in Principle. Other information available on UDOT's site:
Map of Legacy Parkway Agreement

Legacy Parkway and Preserve Web site
Special thanks to UDOT, the Governor's team and the Legislative Working
Group for their blood, sweat, and tears expended to make this agreement a
reality.

8 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

This deal is a travesty and should be unequivocally rejected. The very fact that trucks would be restricted from this new road make it less than half as effective as it was designed to be. One of the big points of the Legacy Highway plan was to divert interstate trucking around the I-15 corridor.

If we knuckle under to out-of-state environmental interests here, Utah will NEVER be able to build anywhere again without their leave and say-so. There are still political plays to make to recover the original project and they need to be pursued in leu of this abdication of state authority.

We simply cannot allow a vocal and well funded minority to supersede the will of the electorate of Utah as expressed at the ballot box. It's cowardly and it's un-American.

Dan the Barbarian
Spanish Fork

9/23/2005 9:03 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This deal is a travesty and should be unequivocally rejected. The very fact that trucks would be restricted from this new road make it less than half as effective as it was designed to be. One of the big points of the Legacy Highway plan was to divert interstate trucking around the I-15 corridor.

If we knuckle under to out-of-state environmental interests here, Utah will NEVER be able to build anywhere again without their leave and say-so. There are still political plays to make to recover the original project and they need to be pursued in leu of this abdication of state authority.

We simply cannot allow a vocal and well funded minority to supersede the will of the electorate of Utah as expressed at the ballot box. It's cowardly and it's un-American.

Dan the Barbarian
Spanish Fork

9/23/2005 9:03 AM  
Blogger Really said...

I think our “representatives” forget what the word means. They are to represent us. They often seem to think their job is to just do what they reason to be best. I do not want the Legacy parkway to go through under these circumstances. It is amazing to me that we would bend so easily to the will of these litigators. The roadway should be what it is intended to be, not what it has become through this “compromise.” I call on our representatives to reject this compromise.

9/23/2005 10:38 AM  
Anonymous Senate Site said...

FYI - from Friday's Standard Examiner:

The agreement is not set in stone, and a finalized document must be approved by the state Legislature, requiring Gov. Jon Huntsman to call a special session, which he has said he is willing to do. But the details aren't perfect yet, so the date of the special session is unknown.

"The agreement has the basic principles that we've decided to move forward on. Where you get nit-picky is over all the verbs, nouns and adjectives," said Sen. Sheldon Killpack, R-Syracuse. "I don't know that it would be realistic to give a specific time (for the special session), because again, a lot depends on the wordsmithing required."

Rep. Stuart Adams, R-Layton, said he hopes the session will be held in the next 30 to 60 days.

"I think it will be good for the citizens of the state," Huntsman said. "I think it will be good for those who care about the environment in which these roads are laid out, and it may even create a template, of sorts, for the way in which we discuss further future transportation options."

Legacy is expected to cost $689 million, though the original bid was $451 million.

Despite the agreement, UDOT still has to get the injunction lifted by the federal court in order to get back to the dirt work by spring 2006. UDOT plans to complete the project by 2008, though, for many, tomorrow wouldn't be soon enough.

http://www2.standard.net/standard/news/62869/

9/26/2005 7:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Letter from Jack White to Utah Legislators:

September 26, 2005


Dear Legislator:

Re: Legacy Highway

I am writing you of my displeasure with the transportation task force and Governor Huntsman for making a deal on the Legacy Highway.

As a trucking company executive and past president of the Utah Trucking Association, I feel that the decision to exclude the trucking industry from the system shows exactly how much bias the committee and conservation groups have towards the very industry that delivers the goods and services they all enjoy.

Trucking, manufacturing and distribution industries in the state pay the largest percentage of highway taxes paid by all motorists, yet we will not be able to use it! The governor wants to promote business in the state and encourages development to outside companies yet has compromised the ability to deliver the goods and services that all businesses need to survive.

What next? No Mountain View Corridor highway? No expansion of I-15/I-80/I-215 or other needed highways? I feel we have compromised our ability to expand our highway system to allow for the continued growth along the Wasatch Front. We already have gridlock along the Davis County-Salt Lake County, Salt Lake County-Utah County commuting lanes, amounting to many hours of lost productivity each day. Legacy “Parkway” should relieve some of the pressure along I-15 in Davis County, but will it sustain the real reason for the highway in the long run? Should small groups of individuals dictate how, where and how much we build in the future?

We are all conservationists in this day and age. The trucking industry has made great strides within the last ten years and paid great prices for cleaner air, smarter engines and less environmental harm than any time in our industry’s history. Our employees are the best trained and skilled with incomes above the median in the country. This industry understands the need to preserve and conserve precious commodities we consume as a society but we all must understand the need to have goods and services delivered in a timely and cost effective manner that allows for our economy to grow along with our population. Exclusion of the delivery service will not be of value to the sustained growth we are facing in this great state.

Please rethink your decision in accepting the proposal as written and consider making the Legacy a highway with acceptable lanes, speed and especially the use by all modes of transportation.

Sincerely,



Jack White
President
Alpha Transport, Inc.

9/27/2005 5:33 PM  
Blogger The Senate Site said...

This article was published in the Davis County Clipper, 9/27/05.

Legislators reveal tough battle for Legacy accord
Melinda Williams, Staff Writer

Complaints by some state legislators at being left out of the Legacy Parkway deal unveiled Wednesday, Sept. 21, probably won’t stop the proposed 14-mile stretch of road from becoming reality. “I think cooler heads will prevail,” said state Sen. Sheldon Killpack, R-Syracuse. Killpack, who serves on a state task force which studied the parkway, said on Friday that those in the legislature opposed to the I-15 alternative may beat their chests, “but in the final analysis, if they truly care about their responsibility to the state’s economy, they’ll agree to it.”

Caucuses held in the Utah House and Senate Sept. 21, prior to a press conference announcing an agreement in principle for the road, showed divisions among legislators over approval of the compromise agreement on the Legacy Parkway, and House Democrats in particular felt left out of the process.

The agreement must be voted on by the full legislature, which is expected to meet in a special session later this fall, and Rep. Stuart Adams, R-Layton, who also serves on the task force, said the agreement they vote on cannot be amended. “If we don’t have enough votes, it could collapse. This deal could be in trouble.”

He said that in spite of all the celebration over finally having a compromise deal in place, the caucus was very difficult. All 19 House Democrats opposed the deal because they hadn’t been at the table.

Still, Adams believes in the end the deal will hold. “It’s great for Davis County and our quality of life,” Adams said.

Under the compromise hashed out between the state and environmental groups, the road will be built on the route proposed by the Utah Department of Transpor-tation. The speed limit will be set at 55 mph and all heavy trucks will be banned, at least until 2020 when the agreement lapses.

The state will buy 125 acres of additional wetlands to add to the proposed Nature Preserve, and a planned commercial development on 500 South in Bountiful will be scrapped. Also, no billboards will be allowed. The road itself will be made of a rubberized asphalt to minimize noise.

Truckers have also voiced opposition to the agreement, since they will be banned initially from using the road.

Killpack admits it’s a part of the compromise he doesn’t like himself, but he said that the deal is a compromise. Under the agreement, if there’s a problem on I-15 which stalls traffic, trucks can be rerouted.

Adams pointed out that traffic on I-15 is already reaching critical levels, so having the road restricted until 2020 is a small price to pay to be able to move traffic in the meantime.

Both men say that the state’s economy depends to a great degree on trucks having access to the roads, and that is what will be the deciding issue in getting the Legacy built. “If the road isn’t built by 2012, we’ll probably be in constant gridlock, and the trucks won’t even be able to move on I-15,” Adams said. “It’s better to guarantee them travel on I-15 than to be faced with the alternative. The economy will simply shut down.”

While there are portions of the agreement Killpack doesn’t care for, he calls it a “palatable deal” which in the long run will save the state money. “What it boils down to is that there are those who find it hard to give up a single thing.”

Adams said he’s hopeful that the deal will mean the state will be able to reach such compromises in the future. “It’s a much better way to do business if you can have reasonable minds come to a compromise, rather than the issue being settled through litigation.”

mwilliams@davisclipper.com

9/28/2005 12:39 PM  
Blogger google_PEAK_OIL said...

The governor of Washington state will give the opening address for the "Global Oil Depletion and Implications for the Pacific Northwest" conference on October 4th. The mayor of Denver will will be a speaker at the November 11 conference of the USA branch of The Association for the Study of Peak Oil. (ASPO-USA). The Oregon Dept. of Transportation (ODOT) submitted a report to the Oregon Legislature that offered suggestions on how to deal with the transportation revenue consequences of Peak Oil.

What all this makes me wonder is, does the leadership of Utah or UDOT know anything about Peak Oil? Has it ever been publicly discussed? Has it ever been a consideration in any of the plans for highway building or economic development? Has it ever been mentioned on the record in relation to the Legacy Highway?

9/29/2005 8:24 AM  
Anonymous The Senate Site said...

Davis County Commissioner Dan McConkie sent us the following (posted with his permission):

September 30, 2005

The recent agreement reached on the Legacy Parkway, that in part was designed to put an end to additional litigation, is a landmark achievement.

As a Davis County resident and Davis County Commissioner, I support the agreement as something positive for a change where the Legacy project is concerned. I endorse this agreement and recommend it to you for your support and passage in the Special Legislative Session.

It is my feeling the good far out weighs the bad. The agreement protects our citizens from additional costs of litigation and construction. It prevents prolonging the current transportation congestion in our County. It sets a new standard for a partnership, that I believe, is a positive for all stake holders. I also believe that it proves we can work together in a common cause without the need for litigation.

I anxiously solicit your consideration and support on behalf of the good people in Davis County and the State. It would be my hope that the agreement will pass the legislative review and go straight away to the Governor for his signature, allowing construction to restart on the Legacy in the spring.

Your leadership in supporting us in Davis County, by getting the all important Legacy Parkway built, sooner than later, will be greatly appreciated.

Thank you in advance for your consideration and support with this very important issue.

Sincerely,


Dannie R. McConkie

10/05/2005 9:39 AM  

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