Monday, October 3, 2016

Analysis: Utah needs to subsidize 72 percent of Lake Powell Pipeline cost

The state as a whole is being asked to pay for more than two-thirds of the Lake Powell Pipeline, according to a cutting critique authored by economists Gabriel Lozada and Gail Blattenberger in their analysis of a financing model used in meetings between local political figures and the Washington County Water Conservancy District. Water district officials said Tuesday they had not yet seen the document but would comment after reviewing it.

Based on the economists’ report, the model only pays off about 28 percent of the actual pipeline costs, leaving taxpayers in the rest of the state to cover the remainder. The authors argue the WCWCD model doesn’t include any payments from the district to reimburse the state for the interest it would have to pay on bonds, it relies on an outdated cost estimate for the project ($969 million), and it omits the costs of operation and maintenance, which are projected to vary between $23 million and $63 million every year. The Spectrum