Senate appropriators approved a $211 million request Thursday to build a new federal courthouse in Salt Lake City. Sen. Bob Bennett, R-Utah, had asked for the funding.
"This project is a prime example of a shovel-ready project that will bring hundreds of jobs to Utah and give a much-needed boost to our economy," Bennett said. He added that it could bring an estimated 700 jobs to Utah for the next three years.
"The project has been in the works for several years and now we are a step closer to securing the funds needed to meet the vastly growing needs of our state's judiciary system," he said.
The earmark was included at Bennett's request in the annual Financial Services Appropriations bill. The Senate Appropriations Committee passed it Thursday and sent it to the full Senate. Bennett is the only Utah member of Congress who serves on an appropriations committee.
The new courthouse will be adjacent to the Frank E. Moss Courthouse in downtown Salt Lake City. Tenants will include the district court, probation and pretrial services and the U.S. Marshal's Office.
When the new courthouse is built, the existing Moss Courthouse will be renovated and will house bankruptcy judges, the U.S. Attorney's Office and the U.S. Trustee's Office.
The General Services Administration has told Congress the project will provide $105 million in construction salaries over three years, providing an estimated 716 jobs for each of the three years of construction.
Bennett's office said the expansion project has been envisioned for 17 years. In 1992, the court submitted a formal written request to the GSA for an annex to the Moss Courthouse.
But by 1998, the district court's docket had increased so much that officials determined that a renovation and annex would not be enough to meet needs. Also, studies showed that renovation of the Moss Courthouse was unsuitable for a District Court because of security concerns and a space squeeze that would not allow adequate courtroom sizes.
So plans were revised to build an entirely new courthouse.
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