Officials envision a community connecting Bear Lake to St. George, but obstacles stay to execution.
forest cross • Dwight D. Eisenhower formed his legacy as President when he signed laws in 1956 to fund the US Interstate Highway System.
Utah Gov. Spencer Cox and Utah Department of Transportation government director Carlos Braceras introduced Friday morning a undertaking they suppose is virtually as daring — and with so much much less asphalt.
The Cox administration desires to create a statewide path system that connects all current trails within the Beehive State. In concept, somebody might stroll, bike, or use different non-automotive automobiles primarily to journey from Bear Lake to St. George utilizing this new system.
“This is our interstate highway system,” stated Cox. “…This is our domestic trail system. This bold idea that at some point in the future we’ll be able to get from anywhere in Utah to anywhere else without having to step onto a road, and do it safely and…in a way that brings people together.”
But here’s the catch: the statewide system, as it stands, is still in its infancy. Details are still being worked out, Cox said.
When asked if there was a cost estimate for the project, Braceras said there wasn’t one yet. But he offered an insight into the scale of the project.
“This is not a cheap project,” Braceras said. “This is long-term – we will work towards it. We may not be finished in our lifetime because I believe as we start making those connections it will grow.”
While details were sparse, Cox and Braceras addressed issues that could matter to Utahs. The most important of these is that the administration does not want to use prominent domains to connect existing trails.
“We want to work via these tough conditions to see if we will discover keen sellers,” Braceras said. “Or perhaps the trail wants to meander round a sure space to make these connections.”
Cox said that funding would likely be one of the biggest hurdles to moving forward with the project. He said he wants to use all available resources, including federal infrastructure funds.
Braceras said next steps included increased communication of the administration’s “imaginative and prescient” and “shut cooperation with the Legislature”.
“We’re working our approach into the legislature, and these are political choices that our lawmakers have to make,” Braceras said.
Notably, the project will seek to make the system the same for all communities, regardless of income level and physical ability, officials said.
“These trails cannot simply be accessible to individuals on the East Side or individuals in additional prosperous neighborhoods,” Cox said. “We know active transportation is something everyone in the state wants. So we need to make sure there is physical access. We also need to make sure the trails are built so that people of all abilities can access them.”
Braceras said the proposed statewide system will benefit those Utahns who either cannot drive or choose not to drive. And even if the project takes decades to complete, the administration believes a statewide trail system can become one of Utah’s greatest highlights.
“Just just like the freeway linked our cities and states and actually made this nation what it is as we speak, from an financial high quality of life perspective – the place you might go, the place you needed, everytime you needed – I believe a nationwide one.” Weg System will do the same with the state of Utah,” Braceras said. “It will show to be a legacy for all residents and guests to the state of Utah for so a few years to come.”