Kristin Murphy, Deseret News
BriAnn Denoyer, 3form marketing operations manager, and Adam Wester, 3form art director, work at Impact Hub, a coworking space, in Salt Lake City on Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2019.

SALT LAKE CITY — A $2 million proposal aimed at incentivizing the creation of shared, or coworking, spaces in rural Utah continues to find legislative support, earning a 5-1 endorsement in a Senate committee hearing Tuesday.

Rep. Carl Albrecht, R-Richfield, said his HB296 complements other recent state programs aiming to give rural Utah communities, which have lagged well behind the Wasatch Front in economic successes, a boost with the novel grant program.

"We have two different Utahs," Albrecht said. "In rural Utah we’ve got challenges with job creation and capital investment being connected to the high cost of infrastructure."

While coworking spaces have exploded along the Wasatch Front in recent years, rural Utah has been mostly left out of the mix on the new, flexible office space opportunities that are often equated with tech startups and outboard employment known as "remoting."

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Albrecht told members of the Senate Economic Development and Workforce Services Committee that his bill will not only help jump-start projects off the I-15 corridor to create new, high-tech work facilities, but also have positive impacts on some of the issues plaguing the growth explosion along the Wasatch Front. Those include, according to Albrecht, helping to relieve traffic congestion and taking some pressure off rising housing costs and worsening air quality.

HB227, which has already found support from the House, now moves to the Senate for further consideration.