Municipalities battle it out for $35 million federal road fund pie

Friday , October 13, 2017 - 5:15 AM

MITCH SHAW, Standard-Examiner Staff

OGDEN — There’s a multimillion dollar pie to help fund road and economic development projects in Northern Utah and pieces will soon be divvied up for local municipalities. 

The Wasatch Front Regional Council has asked cities, counties and other government agencies across the region to apply for a pot of federal dollars that can be used to pay for a host of transportation projects and work related to economic expansion.

In a letter announcing the funding and asking municipalities to submit “letters of intent” for potential projects, WFRC Executive Director Andrew Gruber said there is about $35 million at play. 

RELATED: WFRC transportation plan reflects Northern Utah's exploding population

Muriel Xochimitl, WFRC director of Intergovernmental Affairs and Communications, said the money will be spread across the Wasatch Front and projects submitted by cities must fit certain criteria.

Road, bridge, and transit capital improvement projects, bicycle and pedestrian facilities, projects supporting regional economic competitiveness, housing and community development projects and projects that improve air quality will all be considered, Xochimitl said.

The letters of intent are due by Oct. 30, with formal applications due in January. The WFRC expects to recommend projects for funding in the spring of 2018.

The money comes from federal funding sources, but it’s administered by the WFRC — the metropolitan planning arm for Box Elder, Davis, Morgan, Salt Lake, Tooele, and Weber counties. The WFRC also works with the Utah Department of Transportation and the Utah Transit Authority

Xochimitl said in many cases, municipalities will be required to provide local match dollars for their projects.

RELATED: Project bringing new life to Ogden Exchange Building beginning to take shape

In the past, the money has helped fund major projects in Weber County. The WFRC helped Ogden city secure a $2.2 million U.S. EDA Economic Adjustment grant to build a water line that serves the Ogden Business Exchange, part of the city’s 122 acre West Ogden Trackline development.

The development will include a mix of commercial, manufacturing and light industrial space, including a 51-acre outdoor recreation business park.

Earlier this year, North Ogden received $1.35 million from the WFRC, the piece of the funding required begin a massive reconstruction of Washington Boulevard, 2600 North and the intersection of the two roads.

RELATED: North Ogden secures $1.35M for Washington Boulevard, 2600 North reconstruction

“It’s a lifesaver for a city that has a major road project that can’t be put off any longer,” said North Ogden Mayor Brent Taylor. “Without that money, there are projects that just wouldn’t get done, not without a tax increase or some other kind of impact to residents.”

You can reach reporter Mitch Shaw at mishaw@standard.net. Follow him on Twitter at @mitchshaw23 or like him on Facebook at Facebook.com/MitchShaw.StandardExaminer.

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