SALT LAKE CITY -- A local lawmaker has formally requested the Legislature appropriate $750,000 this session as part of an ongoing effort to secure the future of Hill Air Force Base.
Sen. Stuart Reid, R-Ogden, confirmed Wednesday he initiated the appropriation request with the economic development department.
The funding would be directed to the Utah Defense Alliance, which has spearheaded efforts to secure the future of HAFB. Last year the Legislature appropriated $500,000
The request comes at a time when lawmakers have been grappling with potential deficits, as a result of actions at the federal level. Deficits have been projected in a range of $50 million to $300 million. More secure fiscal estimates aren't expected until next week.
Reid did not sound overly optimistic about any funding requests. He predicted efforts to save Hill will have to be ongoing as long as the federal government has a deficit of $16.5 trillion.
"It's always going to be an issue," Reid predicted.
Earlier this week Congressman Rob Bishop, R-Utah, warned state lawmakers about the possible impacts of sequestration and also suggested there may be another base realignment commission (BRAC). He urged lawmakers to fund efforts to secure Hill's future in the Top of Utah.
Sen. Jerry Stevenson, R-Layton, has been involved in efforts to secure the future of the Air Force facility since he served as Layton City mayor.
He said sequestration wouldn't close Hill AFB but it would have a significant impact on the base's 24,000 employees. He said officials at the base have a sequestration plan in place.
Both Stevenson and Reid suggest the potential loss of Hill would shake the region economically for some time to come.
Stevenson said losing the base means his children would never see the economies of Weber and Davis counties ever recover to their present levels, while Reid said the closure would have a devastating impact on the regional economy.