5600 West: Past, Present, Future
5600 West – A Brief History
Recently Herriman residents were asked to answer a survey regarding 5600 West. As the city is short about $2 million to complete this project, residents were asked to give their opinion as to what action Herriman City should take. On occasion I am asked why the city is short of funds to finish 5600 West from Main Street to 11800 South. How did the city find itself in this position?
In 2004 Herriman City applied for State Transportation Improvement Project (STIP) funds to upgrade Main Street in Herriman. The city received funding for two projects. The first project was an improvement of Herriman Main Street from 5600 West to 6200 West. Funds were made available in 2007 and the city has completed this project.
The second project was an improvement of Main Street from 5000 West to 5600 West, and funds became available in 2008. By 2008, the city had already made an arrangement with the developer of the Herriman Towne Center to improve this portion of Main Street, so these funds were no longer needed for this project.
At the same time Herriman was approved to receive significant funding for improvements, and in an effort to keep this grant money, the city applied to have the funds reallocated to 5600 West between Herriman Parkway (12400 South) and Main Street. (13100 South). Our application was approved because this portion of 5600 West was on the Phase 1 STIP plan.
With preliminary design work it became apparent that the $4.2 million was more money than needed to complete this project. The city would have been required to return about $1 million to the state. In an effort to use all of the funds available, the city requested that the remainder of 5600 West be added to the Phase 1 STIP plan. Since all Phase 1 projects need to be totally funded, the remainder of 5600 West could not be added to the Phase 1 STIP plan. In order to work around this constraint, the city made the commitment to the state that we would not request additional funding if the remainder of 5600 West could be added to the Phase 1 STIP. This commitment was enough to convince the state to grant Herriman’s request. With all of 5600 West as a Phase 1 STIP, Herriman was able to apply for and secure $6 million in County Corridor Preservation Funds which were used to purchase the corridor.
Why will the city start this road from the north side?
Federal and state requirements stipulate that any road construction projects using STIP funds need to end at another road intersection. If the 5600 West project were to start from the south at Main Street the $4.2 million would not be sufficient to complete the road. The completed portion of the road would run out in the middle of a field north of Herriman Parkway. This would again require Herriman to return $1 million to the state. At the time the city was examining this project, representatives from Salt Lake Community College were having talks with city officials expressing their desire to bring an extension campus to Herriman at 5600 West. Talks were also taking place with the Jordan School District in bringing another middle school to Herriman in close proximity to 5600 West. By completing the northern portion of 5600 West, these two schools would be accessible. For these reasons, the City applied to change the project to begin from the north side of 5600 West at the Herriman/South Jordan border along 11800 South. This would allow the city to use any remaining funds to extend to the next intersection.
While the city was making plans to complete the 5600 West project, UDOT designed an offramp for the Mountain View Corridor to direct traffic along 5600 West. This plan would generate more traffic than had been previously planned up to this point. This increase in traffic meant that the original design of having an 80’ wide road would have to be increased to a 106’ wide road. This upsize of road width translated to a much shorter road. Herriman found itself $2 million short in having the road completed entirely from 11800 South to Main Street.
Taking all of these factors together helps in understanding the situation facing your elected representatives. In the final analysis, by starting 5600 West from the north the city is able to use all of the $4.2 million of STIP funding. Herriman also accommodates the Jordan School District by making our new middle school accessible, while preparing this area for some economic development opportunities.
What about bonding (debt) to finish the road? Isn’t it ill advised for the city to go into $2 million debt to finish 5600 West?
Some argue that under no circumstance should the city bond, or go into debt, to complete the project. While I am against unnecessary debt, by taking this $4.2 million the city could find itself in a situation where bonding would be necessary. By taking STIP funds the city is obligated to start completing the road in 2013. If we do not have the remaining amount to complete this project, the city could conceivably be forced into a position where bonding will be essential to provide the necessary funds to meet our promise. Some have argued that under no circumstance whatsoever should the city go into debt to complete this road. Under this line of reasoning I would argue that we should not have taken the $4.2 million, because in so doing we place ourselves in a situation where that could happen.
I believe that should we find ourselves in a space where we have to bond to complete the road, we can and should tie impact fee revenue to this debt until it is paid in full. It is conceivable that property taxes would not increase should development in Herriman continue. In a worst case scenario, it is also possible that development could slow to the point where property taxes would have to be raised to meet this obligation. While I do not believe this will occur, we need to face this fact as a possibility.
I am confident that as we move forward that this area of Herriman will continue to grow. Know that every elected official in Herriman City wants to be responsible with every tax dollar. In my estimation, we all want the road to be completed from 11800 South to Main Street. One way or another, it will be completed. I look forward to a healthy dialogue as we move forward and welcome your comments.