Pete Buttigieg joins Gov. Cox in announcing $2.6B for Utah infrastructure

Jul 29, 2022, 12:50 PM | Updated: 5:06 pm

SALT LAKE CITY — Big changes are coming to Utah’s infrastructure.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg joined Gov. Spencer Cox to announce new infrastructure funding Friday morning at the state capitol.

The Promoting Resilient Operations for Transformative, Efficient and Cost-saving Transportation, or PROTECT, Program aims to be proactive when it comes to infrastructure across the U.S. and here in Utah.

It’s not uncommon for Utah to experience avalanches or rock slides, and Cox said this money can help prevent those things — or at least help keep the roads open when those disasters happen.

The PROTECT Program is a first of its kind.

The $7.3 billion initiative aims to modernize America’s infrastructure to withstand extreme weather.

Buttigieg said this will help, “roads, bridges, transit and waterways that people rely on can stay open when you need them the most.”

Utah can expect to get about $2.6 billion over five years in federal highway formula funding for highways and bridges.

Cox says they are looking at focus areas for the funding to go toward.

“Certainly our burn scar areas are very high priority. Another high priority is our canyon areas, enlarging culverts making ditches deeper retention ponds where necessary so the flows go there before they hit the highway,” Cox said.

The new program, Buttigieg said, will help address other issues, too.

He said transportation is not just put at risk by climate change, but also, serves as the biggest contributor to climate change.

“The need is so great we have to have a both-end approach,” Buttigieg said.

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Pete Buttigieg joins Gov. Cox in announcing $2.6B for Utah infrastructure