Utah won more gold for the 2002 Olympics in two bills passed Thursday by the Senate Appropriations Committee.
The infusions include $15 million to help construct the Trappers Loop connector road to improve access to Snowbasin ski resort; $1.3 million to help with Olympics facilities on other Forest Service land; nearly $6 million to help with Olympics law enforcement; and $216,000 for improved weather forecasting equipment.The money was tucked into two spending bills, one for the Department of Interior, and one for Commerce, Justice, State and the Judiciary. It was included by Sen. Bob Bennett, R-Utah, the only Utah member on an appropriations committee.
About the Trappers Loop Road, Bennett said "it is essential for the success of the Olympic events held at Snowbasin and for the World Cup in 2001 . . . This funding will facilitate efforts to finish the project with a limited construction season and provide safe transportation to Snowbasin."
Bennett said the committee approved $5 million to update radio and other systems to allow law enforcement agencies to better coordinate efforts in the Olympics. He said they currently cannot communicate adequately with each other by radio.
He said Olympic security planning would also receive another $925,000 to assist in planning and purchase of computer and other communications systems.
"Tremendous growth and preparations for the 2002 Olympics have placed a great strain on state law enforcement resources," Bennett said. "These projects will assist in Olympic success."
Among other Utah money approved Thursday, the committee earmarked $6.4 million for continued efforts to develop a management plan for the new Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument and $1 million for visitor facilities there, including a museum in Escalante and improvements to buildings in Big Water and Glendale.
"As planning and work on the monument continues, I am committed to see that the necessary funding and assistance is provided to the state," Bennett said.
Also included was $1 million for a new visitor facility at Hovenweep National Monument; $2 million for water quality improvements and visitor facilities at Lake Powell; and $3.6 million to buy new shuttle buses for Zion National Park.
Among other Utah money was $750,000 for the Virgin River Integrated Resource Management Plan; $500,000 for construction at the Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge; $500,000 for land acquisition for the Bonneville Shoreline Trail; and $25 million as part of the Ute Indian water rights settlement with the Central Utah Project.
Also, $1 million was earmarked to help combat drug abuse by buying new mobile cameras, video monitors and surveillance vehicles. Bennett said units would be centralized in Ogden and used for the detection of methamphetamine labs in northern Utah.