Committee Approves Highway Funds Twice That Recommended by Huntsman

Committee Approves Highway Funds Twice That Recommended by Huntsman

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- The Legislature's Executive Appropriations Committee has approved spending $70 million in new money for transportation.

Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr. proposed only $33 million in one-time money for highways, and wants more money put into education.

The committee's action Wednesday evening is not final.

"It's still an ongoing process, and it's relatively early," said Tammy Kikuchi, the governor's communications director. "We'll still work with the Legislature to try to come to a number that works for everybody, but the governor is still sticking to his budget proposal."

The committee chairman, Sen. Lyle Hillyard, R-Logan, also said the amount is not final. "There are a lot of areas left to negotiate," he said.

Senate President John Valentine, R-Orem, said the proposed funding would be taken Thursday to the Republican caucus.

"We have not approved this with our caucus, but we feel in leadership it is a good number to begin discussions," Valentine said.

The House Republican caucus wants $85 million in new, ongoing funding for transportation.

House Speaker Greg Curtis, R-Sandy, said, "We're not capitulating on our $85 million, but this (the executive committee's move) is a good start."

(Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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