Utah would get $92 million, most of it for construction of light rail, in a highway bill that passed the U.S. Senate Friday.
Sen. Robert Bennett, R-Utah, a member of the Transportation Appropriations Committee, won $78 million for continued funding of the TRAX light-rail system currently under construction.The largest portion, $70 million, goes to funding the main north-south corridor, which will stretch from Salt Lake to Sandy. The remaining $8 million would go to the west-east spur planned from the Salt Lake International Airport to the University of Utah. The proposed House version of the bill contains only about $3 million for west-east light rail.
The Senate passed the bill 90-1 in a crack-of-dawn vote. The House now must consider its own bill, which will fund transportation projects for the fiscal year beginning Oct. 1.
The money would be in addition to the massive, six-year highway funding bill signed by President Clinton last month. That measure gives Utah more than $1.2 billion, mostly for the ongoing reconstruction of I-15.
Aside from light rail, the Senate bill would give Utah $7.2 million for an advanced traffic management system along I-15 to provide information on traffic flow and help ease congestion.
It also would appropriate $1 million for training and security for bus and rail drivers in preparation for the 2002 Winter Games.
Other Utah projects include:
- $4 million for the Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge and Soldier Hollow improvements in Wasatch County.
- $2 million for structure research on bridges along the I-15 corridor, to be conducted by local universities.