Huntsman: Federal money may be headed to Utah

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Gov. Jon Huntsman says he's encouraged about a federal spending package in the works from the incoming Obama administration. After a meeting today in Pennsylvania, the governor told us that billions in infrastructure investment could be coming to states like Utah.

Utah's state budget, better than most, has still taken a staggering hit: going from a $775 million surplus to running about flat. Against that backdrop, the nation's governors met with President-elect Obama today to start crafting a recovery plan.

"To solve this crisis we're going to need action and we're going to need action swiftly," Obama told the governors.

Huntsman: Federal money may be headed to Utah

Huntsman tells us the proposal is massive: $500 to $600 billion, about 4 percent of the nation's gross domestic product, which about what the recession is expected to wipe out.

"There's a recognition of the debt involved, but there's also a recognition, led by a lot of the leading economists, that say you've got to stimulate the economy, you've got to do it fast," Huntsman said.

The discussion focused on jump-starting the economy, federal spending on infrastructure in every state and reforming Congressional spending.

Huntsman: Federal money may be headed to Utah

"I would term it a refreshing sense of collaboration. There wasn't any kind of streak of poisonous partisanship, but rather kind of a common view that: ‘Here's the writing on the wall, we've all got to get behind something to get the economy going,'" Huntsman said.

The state recently put more than $3 billion of road construction projects on hold. This new money could help get that going again and go to unemployment benefits, Medicaid and other infrastructure, like transmission lines for renewable energy projects.

Huntsman says the plan will continue to be developed over the next several weeks, with the goal that it be ready to go Jan. 20, when the new president takes office.


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John Daley


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