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BRIGHAM CITY, WILLARD, PERRY TO VOTE ON TAX HIKE FOR UTA

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Voters in three northern Utah towns will consider a quarter-cent sales-tax increase that would pay for the Utah Transit Authority to extend bus service into Box Elder County.

Brigham City, Willard and Perry would be served by the expansion.All three municipalities are bedroom communities to bigger cities in Weber, Davis and Salt Lake counties, and proponents say bus service is needed largely to help commuters get to and from work.

UTA would raise about $450,000 a year from the tax increase. Service would begin next year and would represent UTA's northernmost connections and mean the agency's buses would finally ply what demographers consider the entire length of the approximately 110-mile Wasatch Front, from Payson in Utah County to Brigham City.

UTA, in proposing expansion into the area, was responding to a request from local officials who want bus service. Though details are vague, the move would probably include some local service, particularly in Brigham City, a city of about 16,800.

The proposal coincides with the increasing urbanization of the I-15 corridor north of Salt Lake City. The 56-mile commute from Brigham City to downtown Salt Lake takes about an hour but has grown increasingly difficult because of perennial highway construction.