Business and political leaders from the Top of Utah are working to pull together more often for combined political power in the next state legislative session and beyond.
Weber, Davis and Box Elder county leaders plan to meet more regularly and more often in the upcoming legislative session to jointly target getting public dollars for transportation, aerospace-related and other projects, the leaders said Monday.
Rep. Julie Fisher, R-Fruit Heights, believes the northern counties must regroup as the southern region of Utah grows and grabs sparse tax dollars for public projects.
"Utah County is growing; Weber, Davis not as much. We need to coalesce, become a much greater voice," said Fisher, who is a Davis Chamber of Commerce board member.
"Our needs are so much more alike, more than ever."
The bulk of the current state highway construction projects in Utah are concentrated in the south, said Fisher, who is chairwoman of the Interim Transportation Committee.
Then there is the new Utah speaker of the House, Rep. Rebecca Lockhart, R-Provo, and Gov. Gary Herbert, both with political roots in Utah County.
But the majority leaders in both the Utah House and Senate are from the Top of Utah, perhaps balancing what some might perceive as a southern power bloc in capital politics.
Weber and Davis Chamber of Commerce leaders routinely meet with local lawmakers during legislative sessions, sometimes as one group.
But the leaders decided a tight economy and a changing political landscape call for a continuing united front.
"It's all three counties," said Dave Hardman, president/CEO of the Ogden/Weber Chamber of Commerce. "You've got so many big votes from Utah and Salt Lake counties. With all three coordinating, we can balance things."
Hardman said his chamber leadership group met Thursday to assemble its plan for the 2011 session.
A possible joint legislative priority list includes pushing for funding education improvements, such as an improved Weber State University campus in Davis County, he said.
Also likely on the legislative agenda is talking about the juvenile court in Weber County, immigration reform and preserving the food sales tax and tourism-marketing funding.
Monica Holdaway, of the Brigham Area Chamber of Commerce, said that group will add its voice to the agenda in the weeks ahead.
"This is the year we are trying to bring it all together -- Northern Utah to talk about Northern Utah issues."