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Washington • Rep. Jim Matheson said Thursday he's optimistic the state will continue to get funding for the Central Utah Project after meeting with officials for the administration's Office of Management and Budget.
Matheson, joined by Sen. Orrin Hatch and GOP Reps. Rob Bishop and Jason Chaffetz, pressed OMB officials to renew funding previously about $40 million a year for the project which channels water from Utah's eastern mountains over and through the Wasatch Mountain range.
Matheson, D-Utah, said he pointed out that President Barack Obama's team had previously touted how stimulus money aimed at the Utah water project had resulted quickly in jobs.
"Just a few months ago, this project was a really good idea for this administration," Matheson says he told the OBM officials. "I find it interesting that now you don't think it's a good idea, which I still think it is."
Matheson says the next step is to keep on OMB and the Interior Department to include the funding in the president's budget.
Interior Department spokeswoman Kendra Barkoff said the budget process is ongoing and, "no final decisions have been made."
Obama's budget is expected to be released in late January or early February.
The final segment of the project, priced at about $450 million, would bring water from eastern Utah's Uinta Basin to the populous Wasatch Front through a system of tunnels and pipelines.
Jordan Water Valley Conservancy District general manager Richard Bay has said the segment would supply enough water to server more than 140,000 people, calling it "essential for our growing population."
Central Utah Project
The massive water delivery system, funded with more than $2 billion in federal funds, was to be completed in 2021. But continued federal funding is in doubt, raising questions about planned water supplies for about 140,000 residents in the Salt Lake Valley.