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Federal Highway Transit Bill Designates U.S. 6 As High Priority Corridor

Sun Advocate reporter

Thousands of cars travel U.S. 6 each year on their way to their destinations. Congressman Jim Matheson confirmed the multi-year federal highway transit bill might provide more funding leverage for the highway along with the South Moore Cutoff Road in Emery County.

Congressman Jim Matheson confirmed last Friday that the multi-year federal highway transit bill passed by the United States House of Representatives includes language making U.S. Highway 6 eligible to receive high priority corridor funding in the future.

The federal transit bill also includes millions for the South Moore Cutoff Road in Emery County.

The bill, passed by the U.S. House on July 29, adds certain highways to a list designating the roads as high priority corridors. One of designees is U.S. 6 from Interstate 70 to Interstate 15.

"The language ensures that Highway 6 will be eligible for an important federal revenue source. As the most dangerous stretch of highway in Utah, it deserves priority attention," said Matheson.

The bill does not allocate specific federal funding to U.S. 6 in 2005 legislative session. But the legislation adds the road to the priority list and allows the state to request a higher funding level from Congress in future fiscal cycles.

In a separate section of the bill, projects around the nation were designated to receive funding this year.

The bill provides $8 million for the South Moore Cutoff Road in Emery County.

Utah will receive $1.8 billion for specific highway and transportation projects.

Matheson secured $30 million allocation during the next six-year period for Utah statewide buses and bus facilities and $200 million for Utah regional commuter rail.

"Passage of this legislation ensures that Utah's most pressing transportation needs are addressed without one penny added to the federal deficit. The result will be safer, more efficient travel, good paying jobs and a better quality of life in our state," said Matheson.

Senators Bob Bennett and Orrin Hatch spoke in favor of the bill last Friday.

"This is the most federal funding ever committed to Utah in a transportation bill and it's long overdue," said Hatch, who served on the U.S. Senate-House team that negotiated the final transportation funding bill. "Improving transportation is one of our state's highest priorities because travel on Utah's roads has grown twice as fast as our population."

"This highway bill provides a tremendous amount of federal assistance for road improvements across the state. As Utah continues to experience unprecedented growth, many of these projects will help alleviate congestion in areas hardest hit," said Bennett, a senior member of the Senate banking committee that authorizes a portion of the highway bill.

The U.S. House approved the bill last Friday with a 412-8 vote in favor of the federal highway transit legislation.

The U.S. Senate passed the bill later that day with a 91-4 vote.

"This important legislation will help provide the funding needed to carry out overdue work on critical highway and transportation projects, and it will strengthen and modernize the transportation networks vital to America's continued economic growth. I look forward to signing it into law," President Bush said after the passage of the bill.

Aside from the $8 million going toward the South Moore Cutoff Road, the bill provides line item funding to other projects around the state, including the following:

Accompanied by two aides, Congressman Jim Matheson stops in Carbon County to enjoy Price's International Days celebration last Saturday. Matheson left Price to attend an economic roundtable in Emery County.

•$200 million for Utah Regional Commuter Rail.

•$30 million for Utah statewide bus and bus facilities.

•$1 million over two years ($500,000 per year) for Provo-Orem Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) study.

•$18 million for Geneva Rd-Provo Center Street, Orem 1600 North to I-15, Provo-widen from two to four lanes.

•$3 million for construction of Midvalley Highway, Tooele County.

•$6 million for Provo, Utah Westside Connector from I-15 to Provo Municipal Airport.

•$1.5 million to reconstruct 500 West, including pedestrian and bicycle access, in Moab.

•$12 million for Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge Access Road improvements, Box Elder County.

•$16 million to widen Highway 92 from Lehi to Alpine/Highland.

•$10.5 million for I-15 freeway reconstruction - Springville 200 South Interchange, Springville.

•$13 million to construct a two-lane divided highway from the Atkinville Interchange to the new airport access road in St. George.

•$3.5 million for I-15 freeway reconstruction- Salt Lake County.

•$2.5 million for I-15 North and Commuter Rail coordination, Davis County.

•$3 million to street-scape a two-lane road and add turning lanes at key intersections on Santa Clara Drive in Santa Clara.

•$14 million to construct 200 North Street highway-rail graded crossing separation, Kaysville.

•$8.5 million to widen Redwood Road from Saratoga Springs to Bangerter Highway in Utah County.

•$16 million to expand Redhills Parkway from 2 to 5 lanes and improve alignment within rights-of-way in St. George.

•$5 million for Grant Tower reconfiguration, Salt Lake City.

•$3 million for the 200 East Minor Arterial, Logan City.

•$3 million for the 3200 South project, Nibley/Cache County.

•$5.5 million to construct Parley's Creek Trail, Salt Lake City.

•$2.1 million for Utah Highway 158 improvements, Pine View Dam, Weber County.

•$5 million for the Provo Reservoir Canal Trail, Provo.

•$4 million to improve pedestrian and traffic safety in Holladay.

•$6 million for Forest Street improvements, Brigham City.

•$12 million for construction and rehabilitation of 1300 East in Sandy.

•$2.5 million for State Street reconstruction project 10600 South to 9400 South.

•$4 million to increase lane capacity on bridge over Virgin River on Washington Fields Road in Washington.

•$500,000 to construct pedestrian safety project on the Navajo Nation in Montezuma Creek.

•$400,000 to add lighting on Highway 262 on the Navajo Nation in Aneth.

•$500,000 to add lights to road from Halchita to Mexican Hat in the Navajo Nation.

With national legislators preparing for their summer break, another bill passed the Senate that will provide funding for Utah housing authorities.

Funding to the housing authorities will come from the Capital Fund Program. Grants totaling more than $3.2 million were awarded to 12 different housing authority agencies in Utah.

Carbon County Housing Authority will receive $200,740 and Emery County Housing Authority will receive $38,989.

"Housing is one of the most basic and vital needs of our society," stated Hatch. "These grants will go a long way in helping to provide affordable housing for many Utahns who need a helping hand. I am certain that Utah's housing agencies that receive this money will put it to good use in sheltering and protecting our citizens."

Other housing authorities around the state which will receive funding include Beaver City Housing Authority, $25,608; Davis County Housing Authority, $246,748; Salt Lake City Housing Authority, $826,505; Salt Lake County Housing Authority, $925,101; Ogden City Housing Authority, $318,140; St. George Housing Authority, $47,472; Tooele County Housing Authority, $40,764; Utah County Housing Authority, $215,456; and West Valley City Housing Authority, $34,567.

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