TOOELE, Utah (ABC4) – In Utah, over the next five years, President Biden’s infrastructure law will invest $2.6 billion in roads and bridges, $665 million for public transportation, $36 million for electric vehicle charging, and $181 million for airports, according to the U.S. Dept. of Transportation (DOT).

“The need for action in Utah is clear,” DOT states.

In Utah, there are reportedly 62 bridges and over 2,064 miles of highway in poor condition. “Since 2011, commute times have increased by 7.2% in Utah, and on average, each driver pays $709 per year in costs due to driving on roads in need of repair,” DOT states.

The most recent investment from the administration comes in the form of $6 million, given to Tooele and Juab counties, as well as Goshute Indian Reservation to repave Ibapah Road, improve and widen shoulders, update signing, renovate culverts, and install guardrails. The renovation will take place on an approximately 35-mile stretch of Ibapah Road from the Utah-Nevada border to the origin of the road in Juab County.

The Dept. of Transportation states that the money for this renovation is coming from the new Rural Surface Transportation Grant Program (RURAL) to support the Ibapah Road Safety and Rehabilitation Project.  

The improved road will “enhance safety, increase reliability, and improve mobility for the Tribal community on the Goshute Reservation, and other residents of the economically disadvantaged Deep Creek Valley,” a press release states. It will reportedly reduce emergency vehicle response times and improve access to essential goods, services, education facilities, and economic opportunities in nearby Wendover for Tribal residents.

“Due to decades of disinvestment, around 13% of rural roads and 10% of off-system bridges, most of which are in rural areas, are in poor condition,” the release states. The fatality rate on rural roads is also reportedly two times greater than on urban roads. “Facing these sobering figures, the Biden Administration made supporting Americans living in rural areas a top priority.”

A reported $44 billion has been allocated through the infrastructure law to help rural communities repair and improve their roads, bridges, airports, ports, and transit systems.

“Infrastructure investments haven’t always reached rural America, leaving far too many roads, bridges, and other parts of the transportation system across our country in disrepair,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg.

The Department of Transportation states they received applications requesting close to $10 billion in funding, which is much more than the nearly $300 million in 2022 funding available.

On an average annual basis, the $2.6 billion investment is reportedly about 33% more than the State’s Federal-aid highway formula funding under current law.