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UTA STUDYING BUS RUNS TO SUNDANCE

For a year, patrons of Salt Lake and Park City ski resorts have had the chance to go UTA. Next year, Sundance patrons could get their chance.

Wednesday morning, the Utah County Commission voted to approve the terms and conditions of annexation of the Provo Canyon area into the Utah Transit Authority Public Transit District.As a result, Utah County will put the question of UTA service to residents in the unincorporated part of the canyon in the November election. Residents must approve the annexation by a majority vote because it requires a one-fourth of 1 percent increase in the sales tax.

While leaders in four south county cities - Spanish Fork, Mapleton, Salem and Payson - have already approved the terms and conditions of UTA annexation, the commission delayed the action until some errors in the conditions or some other misconceptions were cleared up.

The Provo Canyon route would primarily serve Sundance resort, but responsible parties must make major improvements to the resort access road - including widening it and providing a proper turnaround - before buses could operate there, said UTA spokesman Bill Barnes. The resort may also have to help purchase special buses necessary to travel in winter or inclement weather.

Deputy County Attorney Kent Sundberg said that original language in the documents given to the county by UTA officials implied that Utah County would participate financially in the road work and bus purchase. However, county officials plan only to be facilitators for those projects. The Utah Department of Transportation, the U.S. Forest Service and Sundance would make the financial commitments.

Also, a mistake in the original draft tied the Provo Canyon service to Spanish Fork approval, as well as that by canyon residents. Service in Payson, Salem and Mapleton is contingent on Spanish Fork approval, but service in the canyon is not.

UTA officials also held a transit planning meeting Wednesday night to receive input from Provo Canyon residents, as well as Sundance officials, and explain the proposal more in depth.

Barnes said Provo Canyon, particularly Sundance, could provide more than $27,000 for bus service. Services the residents would receive if the transit annexation is approved include:

- Four to 16 trips per day.

- A total of 21,665 miles traveled in the canyon per year.

- Between 60 and 240 passengers using the system per day.

- Three customized ski buses.

A final transit planning meeting for all the Utah County communities voting on UTA annexation this November will be Thursday, Sept. 29. That meeting will start at 6:30 p.m. at the Spanish Fork Library, 49 S. Main.