By SETH SAUNDERS
The U.S. Government has awarded $90 million in discretionary transportation grants to the State of Utah for four major transit and highway projects, including $75 million for projects related to the 2002 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games.
“This funding comes at an extremely critical point in the planning of the 2002 Games and will allow us to move forward with our transportation plans,” said G. Frank Joklik, SLOC PResident and CEO.
“We truly appreciate the assistance of Secretary of Transportation Rodney Slater, who has stepped forward to make a significant contribution to our Olympic preparations,” Joklik said.
The federal matching funds are being made available on an expedited basis as part of the 1999 approriations legislation from the U.S. Department of Transportation for projects that will be essential to the Olympic transportation system.
The four projects and the respective funding they will receive are as follows:
A total of $48 million for the widening and reconstruction of I-15, including work that will include the completion of SR 248 and the access road to the Utah Winter Sports Park.
A total of $17 million for improvements to I-80 intersections at Silver Creek and Kimball Junction to help accomodate the estimated 60,000 additional people traveling to Olympic events at Soldier Hollow, Park City, Deer Valley and the Utah Winter Sports Park.
A total of $6 million for Soldier Hollow to improve existing roads and construct a new access road to the venue.
A total of $4 million is earmarked for SR 248 to accomodate Olympic traffic destined for Park City, Deer Valley and the Utah Winter Sports Park.
“I’m confident that with the continued support of this adminstration and the Utah congressional delegation that we will be successful in meeting our goal of delievering a succesful transportation system for the 2002 Games,” Joklik said.
In a news release, Gov. Mike Leavitt said, “The allocation of these funds is very timely because construction will have to start in the spring to meet the critical time demands for the Winter Games. The support that Secretary Slater and the White House provided were absolutely the best we could have hoped for.”
Joklik said, “The Utah congressional delegation did an outstanding job for us, but there is still a lot of heavy lifting to be done in fiscal year 2000 and 2001 in particular.”