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This is Fred Ball for Zions Bank, speaking on business.

There is a great deal of travel between cities along the Wasatch Front and Washington County. There is a great deal of business travel and many people travel to Utah's Dixie for recreational purposes. St. George residents come to Salt Lake City for entertainment, shopping and professional services.

The trip by automobile is freeway all the way and the approximately 4 1/2 hour trip is really quite pleasant.

However, many people, because of time constraints, utilize the service of Skywest and take the 90-minute flight for convenience. Those of us who fly recognize that there are some limitations to the current St. George Municipal Airport and are following with much interest the plans for the proposed new airport

The City of St. George is relatively isolated geographically from the larger metropolitan areas of Utah, Nevada and Arizona, and thus, the southwest region of Utah represents a strong and definable market area for the commercial airline passenger services offered at St. George Municipal Airport.

Over 15 potential sites within the area surrounding St. George were selected for initial analysis. Three sites were identified that would accommodate the specific development criteria for the proposed replacement facility for the current airport. The sites are approximately five to six miles southeast of St. George City proper.

It is projected that the new replacement facility will be operational in the year 2009, with the existing airport closed that same year. The preliminary construction cost estimate is approximately $153.7 million.

The planning process has coordinated input and recommendations from the city, The Airport Advisory Board, The Federal Aviation Administration, airport users and interested citizens. I had the opportunity to recently receive a briefing from the mayor and the director of the public works and airport-planning group. The proposal makes a great deal of sense and will certainly be needed as Washington County continues to grow and prosper.

For Zions Bank, I’m Fred Ball. I'm speaking on business.

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