Back in July, it was announced that the Utah Department of Transportation’s (UDOT) Record of Decision recommended a gondola to fix Little Cottonwood Canyon’s traffic cluster. Many locals were frustrated with the decision, as they feared that the price tag, which UDOT estimates to be $729 million, would have to be paid fully by the taxpayers. In reality, this will probably not be the case.

The Deseret News reports that during a news conference, Utah Governor Spencer Cox was asked about whether the state would fully pay for the gondola. This was his response:

“I don’t think the state should do it alone. And so those conversations will be ongoing — How much private participation can we get in building the gondola and of course, implementing the record of decision that has come forth from UDOT...

We’ll look at the price tag and make a determination of how much of that will be funded on the public side. And then if there are private partners out there, how much they’re willing to put towards this project.”

Those private partners will likely include Alta & Snowbird, who would benefit the most from the gondola’s development. This option seems like something they’re open to. In a Salt Lake Tribune op-ed, Dave Fields, who is the General Manager of Snowbird, noted that they are working with UDOT “to help pay for and maintain a new system.”

Utah is a very conservative state, so having taxpayers pay for a project like this is a tough sell to get through their legislature. So this (partially) solves one hesitation about the gondola. Does it mean more people will want the gondola? As someone whose been opposed to the gondola for a while now, I’m still against it. Ultimately, I’ll save my full-fledged opinion on the plans for another time.

Image Credits: Gondola Works

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