SWEETWATER COUNTY — In a contentious split decision, lawmakers made a statement vote that approved funding to pave all dirt roads in Wyoming–but that statement will come with a price tag to the taxpayers.
The new initiative, according to lawmakers, aims to create jobs and usher in a new age of modernization. Lawmakers have high hopes this will drive new businesses to take root in Wyoming.
“No one really likes all the dirt roads and they don’t really go anywhere anyway,” said Sally Smitherson, a citizen who came out to voice her opinion during the public comment period. “Maybe they’ll put in some good restaurants at the end of some of those roads once they pave them. I’m really hoping for an Olive Garden.”
Smitherson wasn’t alone. At least 20 people came out to the public comment period to voice their support for an Olive Garden. Some citizens also voiced grave concerns over the coming tax hike to pay for all the construction and subsequent maintenance costs, but most people came out in support of bread sticks.
The needed revenues are likely to be reached by instituting an individual income tax. By some estimates, the tax burden to the individual could be as much as $200 per person per month.
“Economic development is of paramount importance to this state. This is a huge opportunity that we simply cannot put on hold anymore. Every road, whether it be county-owned, city-owned, or under the stewardship of a public agency must be paved,” said County 24 Representative Sam Samsonite.
Agencies in charge of road maintenance across the state have been sent scrambling to create a plan. Redrawing budgets and securing the manpower to undertake such an ambitious project has folks across the state working late into the night and weekends.
“There are still a lot of moving parts on this that we haven’t figure out. But you can be sure we’ll be communicating with the public in the weeks ahead,” said Samsonite.