City officials received a warm reception from the St. George Chamber of Commerce as they outlined plans for a proposed citywide transportation plan.

"We have a great heritage here, and we want to preserve the quality of life we have here," said Larry Bulloch, city public works director. "That's the major goal of public works and this transportation plan."Plans include widening River Road, building new streets behind Red Cliffs Mall, extending Brig-ham Road to the Bloomington Interchange and constructing the southern extension of a proposed regional beltway and an Interstate 15 interchange at Atkinville.

City officials have identified ways to fund about 80 percent of the $124 million total price tag.

The city has three alternatives to bridge the shortfall. A referendum to raise sales taxes by one-quarter of 1 percent enjoyed the most support from chamber members Wednesday.

Other alternatives were raising property taxes by as much as 15 percent and working with existing budgets.

In an open house later Wednesday, the Utah Department of Transportation unveiled its short list of projects officials hope to complete in southern Utah in the next four years.

They include helping the city construct the Atkinville interchange and southern corridor beltway. UDOT also hopes to construct new bridges on U-9 outside of Hurricane and across the Virgin River near Virgin and bike trails to Snow Canyon and near Lava Flow.

Matthew Riffkin of Fehr and Peers Associates said his company is preparing a feasibility study for public transportation in southern Utah and had hoped to dip into the sales tax fund as well.

"There are other sources," Riffkin said. "At the next census, St. George will probably qualify as an urban area and that will open up all kinds of federal funds."