The Senate has approved a $60.8 million capital bonding bill, which includes $5 million to upgrade the Coliseum at the Utah State Fairpark and $500,000 for a preliminary design and engineering study for the Antelope Island Causeway.

The building bond bill, which began as a $55.3 million package for construction and remodeling projects and land purchases, was amended by the Senate to include the Fairpark project and the causeway study.Sen. Lane Beattie, R-Bountiful, asked for a $5 million amendment to the bill to fund the causeway project, but Sen. Craig Peterson, R-Orem, offered a substitute motion that the state should first determine how much it would cost to design and build the project.

Sen. Glade Nielsen, R-Roy, who is Senate chairman of the General Government and Capital Facilities Appropriations Subcommittee, said the committee had worked hard to whittle down the bonding bill to $60 million. The committee then cut the bonding package by another $5 million by agreeing to build two projects in phases, the proposed Student/Administrative Services Building on the Weber State University campus and the Box Elder Courts Building.

"I'd ask the body to resist this. It's just another effort to build a Christmas tree," Nielsen said, using a legislative euphemism for adding pet projects to a measure.

The bill also includes $20 million for water projects and $20 million for transportation projects, of which $500,000 was earmarked for the causeway project.

The bill was forwarded to the House, which is expected to consider its own building bond bill Wednesday.