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Article

Utah Foundation Report Analyzes Utah’s Future Infrastructure Needs

Press Release

June 20, 2014

Salt Lake City – Utah Foundation released a report this week analyzing Utah’s future infrastructure needs resulting from the state’s projected population changes through 2050.

The report examines three important processes required for growth to continue including community development, expansion of transportation options and distribution of energy. This report is the second in a series that examines the long-range impacts of Utah’s expected population growth.

Highlights of the report include:

  • Utah’s development pattern has been noted as moderate to high urban sprawl by several different studies.
  • Infill and redevelopment in the Wasatch Front is already higher than in peer regions and expected population growth will increase the need for this type of development.
  • 85.5 percent of Utah homes are heated by natural gas, significantly higher than the national average of 49.4 percent.
  • Utah’s renewable portfolio goal strives for renewable utilities to account for 20 percent of retail electric sales by 2025 – the goal is attainable under current projections.
  • Wind power from Wyoming may be a reasonable, low-cost energy supply option to help Utah meet the 2025 goal.
  • The American Society of Civil Engineer’s 2013 Infrastructure Report Card states that 25 percent of Utah’s roads are poor or mediocre quality.
  • National annual vehicle miles traveled decreased by nearly 30 billion miles over a 7-year span.
  • Households along the Wasatch Front spend 26 percent of annual income on transportation, seven percent more than the national average.
  • Driving on roads in need of repair cost $197 per motorist in extra vehicle repairs and operating costs.
  • Expanding communities in outlying areas will create transportation challenges by increasing the number and distance of household trips, reducing the viability of transit systems while increasing environmental impacts and the risk of wildfire damage.            

“In the past, our population growth has led to a fair amount of urban sprawl. Continued trends toward sprawl will increase transportation burdens, environmental impacts and wildfire risks,” said Mallory Bateman, Utah Foundation’s research analyst.

“Utah’s growing infrastructure needs during the next several decades will pose a serious challenge for the state,” said Utah Foundation President Stephen Kroes. “Investing in our infrastructure today will benefit Utah’s quality of life in the future. We look forward to examining more key issues surrounding Utah’s expected population growth in upcoming reports this year.”

The entire research report is available at www.utahfoundation.org.

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