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Lawmakers quickly draft, pass bill for $100 million more for new state prison

First Published      Last Updated Mar 07 2017 01:40 pm

The new state prison is apparently costing $100 million more than expected, according to a bill that first appeared on Monday and was quickly passed through the House without a public hearing.

The House passed HB460 on a 58-10 vote, and sent to the Senate, despite some loud objections from Rep. Sandra Hollins, D-Salt Lake City, whose district will include the new prison.

The bill's sponsor, Rep. Gage Froerer, R-Huntsville, introduced the bill on Monday, and it went to the House floor without a normally required committee hearing.

He explained that the Legislature previously approved borrowing, or bonding, for $474.7 million over seven years to build the prison. His bill would authorize bonding for another $100 million and extend the payment period to 10 years.



Projections of a possible $100 million cost overrun from the original estimate of $450 million was first raised publicly in December at a meeting of the Prison Development Commission. The extra money also was requested in Gov. Gary Herbert's proposed budget.

Froerer said the extra money is needed to put in basic facilities, such as utilities and roads, to the remote location in northwest Salt Lake City that now lacks them.

"Sometimes in the best of these projects, we have to go back and rethink them," he said.

Hollins said when the prison was authorized in a special session, lawmakers were told they were "being given the best bang for our buck. And now we are being told it is costing additional money?"

She added, "I wonder where will it end? How much more are we expected to put into this project? I was against the prison moving in the first place, and I am against this bill and the price we're paying for it."

Debate on the bill lasted only three minutes before it was passed.

 

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