How Utah’s Transportation Agencies Have Helped Utah’s Economy Flourish

The French historian, Alexis de Tocqueville, visited the United States in 1831 and noticed something unique about how Americans worked together.

They were engaged and active in their communities, forging relationships of trust that allowed our nascent democracy to flourish. Modern political scientists have elaborated on this concept, calling it “social capital.”

Social capital is defined as cooperation between groups that reduces transaction costs and incentivizes economic development. Scholars agree that social capital is critical for a robust economy but that it is difficult to achieve. We often tout our ability here in Utah to work collaboratively but what is less clearly understood is how this collaboration supports our robust economy and excellent quality of life.

Let me provide such an example.

The Interstate 15/FrontRunner corridor between northern Utah County and southern Davis County is the most heavily-traveled area in the state and is at the epicenter of the region’s economic and population growth. With so many more employees commuting to work, kids getting to school, and businesses moving their products, traffic congestion has increasingly become a challenge.

Unfortunately, almost all the relatively “easy” transportation solutions to address this congestion have already been done. Once theI-15 Technology Corridor project in Lehi is complete, the freeway will have six lanes in each direction. Further widening would severely impact surrounding communities and only marginally increase operational efficiency. Double-decking the freeway is not a realistic alternative.

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Utah Policy Tue, 08/28/2018 - 09:57