Like a majority of mayors and city managers who listed their city's wishful projects with the U.S. Conference of Mayors, Provo Mayor Lewis Billings is unsure how the money may trickle in to finance local infrastructure projects.
"But we have received word that there will be some funding coming through the Federal Highway Administration," Billings told the Deseret News from Washington, D.C. "They are recommending some portion of those monies (be used) on projects that benefit Provo."
The Provo mayor has been meeting with Utah's congressional delegation this week about Provo's funding needs. Billings said Utah's House representatives are aware of Provo's specific projects and has seen many of them firsthand.
Considering the city's size and population, Provo compiled a relatively conservative list of 38 clearly described projects. Their estimation of new jobs created also appears to be more realistically calculated compared with other Utah cities.
The total tips the scale at $107 million, and city administrators estimate 587 new jobs would be created.
The heaviest financial line on their list is $25 million for a new community recreation center; the next heavyweight comes in at $20 million for partial funds of a railroad underpass at 200 West.
The Provo airport is looking to eventually obtain $7.5 million, according to the survey, to add a new ramp and upgrade lighting, fencing and water drainage.
"Those are all things on our five-year plan," said Helen Anderson, Provo City spokeswoman. "So naturally those are the things we're seeking."
Billings also said that though it's not exactly stimulus money, members of Congress are just now considering funds that Provo had applied for a year ago.
— Jacob Hancock and James Davis
A $195 million check would satisfy Orem officials' lofty wishes to complete 58 infrastructure projects.
"But right now we're looking at next year's budget and struggling to get a balanced budget to present to the City Council," said Orem City Manager Jim Reams about thinking too far ahead. "That's been our focus lately."
Part of stabilizing the budget meant suspending the construction of a $9 million fire station that was included in Orem's budget this fiscal year.
The station, which had been approved at $9 million for a 1-acre lot in the city's southwest business district, is a "high priority," Reams said. "Because it was already in the works."
Orem didn't, however, include the station on its list sent to the U.S. Conference of Mayors late last year.
Another project that wasn't listed but ranks as a top priority — even higher than projects on the list — is an addition to the city office complex that would house a new city attorney's office. Reams noted, though, that he hasn't seen any programs that will lend money for such a project.
A third of the city's listed projects are water related, and officials asked for about $9 million for both the city center and the library.
The city tossed in several resurfacing and road-widening projects that ring up to about $60 million. But it's unlikely that millions of dollars from the federal till will end up paving his roads, Reams said.
"But we've completed some major roads in Orem in the last five years," he said optimistically.
Although the report indicates the city has asked for funding to buy traffic intersection cameras, Reams said the 72 cameras mentioned are actually for police cruisers. At $10,000 each, plus additional equipment, the system would cost $1.2 million.
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