State senator discusses possibility of toll road to cut commutes between Salt Lake, Tooele counties

Posted at 8:38 PM, Dec 20, 2014

SALT LAKE CITY – A Utah senator is among those who want to consider creating a toll road that could cut commute times between Utah and Tooele counties by more than half.

Senator Aaron Osmond, R-District 10, spoke to FOX 13 News about the possibility of a toll road that would create a shortcut between the two counties, passing through the Oquirrh Mountains.

It is estimated that the current travel time of 45 to 50 minutes between the two counties could be reduced to just 15 minutes. Osmond said such a road offers benefits beyond the convenience of a shorter commute.  There is a road in that area currently, but Osmond said it is “very difficult” to drive on and portions of it are not paved.

The road is fully accessible but sits on both private and public land. He and others support turning that unmanageable drive into a shortcut that also helps everyone breathe a little easier.

“And we believe that that would have a significant benefit on air pollution reduction for the area, which we are all concerned about, but it would also connect these two counties in a way that would generate significant economic opportunity for the future of the state,” he said.

Osmond said they are looking into funding a toll road through a combination of public funds and money from private investors.  Osmond said the road would bring increased economic opportunity. He said one such benefit would be easier travel between Salt Lake and Tooele counties if the Utah State Prison should be moved to Tooele.

He said the road will become more important in the future, but said that by working with private investors now the road can be built more quickly. He said they still need to complete the economic and environmental studies for the project and added that at this point things are preliminary and they are trying to raise awareness of the state’s willingness to get involved with such a project.