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Old Posted Oct 23, 2006, 1:18 PM
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Post Transportation called key to growth of Provo, Orem.

Also posted on No Magic Thread.

By Sara Israelsen and Tad Walch
Deseret Morning News
PROVO — Orem and Provo are great cities destined to become even better, their mayors said in State of the City addresses before the Provo/Orem Chamber of Commerce.
Lewis BillingsJerry Washburn "Is Orem as good as it gets?" Mayor Jerry Washburn asked, "Heck no, it's going to get a lot better."
Provo Mayor Lewis Billings echoed the theme, but both men cautioned that transportation upgrades, especially on I-15, are necessary to maintain growth.
"Transportation is a big deal," Billings said. "Have you recently traveled to that city to the north, Salt Lake City, on a Friday afternoon or evening? We're trying to foist on that I-15 backbone more traffic than it can handle."
He said thousands of new homes in Lehi and other northern Utah County cities and towns will further complicate the issue.
"That will impact your business," he said. "It will impact your ability to be efficient."
The mayors said Provo and Orem are seeing job and business growth despite flatter population growth than other communities in the county and new commercial centers in northern Utah County.
Orem saw a 9 percent increase in jobs — from 33,921 to 34,983 — last year, Washburn said.
"We must really be sure to always fight against complacency," he said, stating his belief that Orem is destined to improve, even though the population will probably remain about the same.
According to the city's figures, Orem is projected to see a 43 percent boost in population through 2050, but in the same 45 years the county as a whole will grow at a rate of 200 percent.
Both cities, Washburn reminded business leaders, are 10th in the Morgan Quitno rankings of safe cities — Provo, for cities with more than 100,000 residents and Orem, for those with 75,000 to 99,999 residents.
Billings said Provo has seen a resurgence in interest from carriers in bringing scheduled airline service to the Provo Municipal Airport since the air traffic control tower became operational in 2004.
"Multiple proposals have come to the city," he said. "Two of those are very viable. We don't know when, and we don't know what, but I believe there will come a day when scheduled service will take you to Las Vegas, Southern California, Colorado" and other regional destinations.
The next hurdle is improving access to the airport from I-15.
"The Provo City Council has said they want to provide additional connectivity to the airport before scheduled service begins," Billings said.
The city is using federal funds to study the feasibility of such a road or offramp from I-15.
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