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Gov. Spencer Cox talks flooding and state of emergency

A screenshot shows Gov. Spencer Cox standing at a podium, with an ASL translator in a box in the right corner.
PBS Utah

In his monthly press conference, Gov. Cox spoke on Utah's flood state of emergency and plans to bring a Major League Baseball team to Salt Lake City.

“We’re experiencing flooding and flood risks in areas across the state. We know that rivers and streams are running cold, extremely high and extremely fast. We’ve also seen avalanches that have blocked canyons, mudslides and rockslides that have endangered homes and sinkholes that have ruined roads. And this morning we’re seeing groundwater flooding,” said Gov. Cox.

Utah’s wet winter is causing problems across the state. Gov. Cox said Utah has already depleted its $5 million budget for flood mitigation this year. That’s why he declared a state of emergency this week.

“Over the next 30 days, the state of emergency will allow agencies to tap into the state's literal rainy day funds to continue our flood response as well as ask for federal aid," the governor said. "We'll ask the legislature to extend if we need longer than a month.”

Cox said the Utah legislature is willing to meet to extend the state of emergency if needed. He said Utah’s flood plans are working as designed, despite the high stress.

“There's a tremendous amount of water still left to come down and the temperatures do look good over the next two weeks. Of course, they're cooler now," Gov. Cox said. "We need temperatures in the 60s and low 70s to really get that water moving.”

Cox also spoke about plans to bring a Major League Baseball team to Salt Lake City.

“I don’t think I have to do anything to make Salt Lake City or Utah more attractive. I don’t believe that we should be writing a check to build a stadium directly," he said. "Yes, there are some bigger cities, but bigger cities doesn’t always translate into support.”

He said growth is a major factor in making Utah more attractive.

“We'll do everything we can to show how great the city and state can be. I think if you look at the economics of our state and our city, we're pointing up in a very big way," Cox said. "We're the fastest-growing state in the nation. We have the fastest growing economy in the nation over the past 10 years, and incredibly high quality of life.”

Anna grew up begging her mom to play music instead of public radio over the car stereo on the way to school. Now, she loves radio and the power of storytelling through sound. While she is happy to report on anything from dance concerts to laughter practice, her main focus at UPR is political reporting. She is studying Journalism and Political Science at Utah State University and wants to work in political communication after she graduates. In her free time, she spends time with her rescue dog Quigley and enjoys rock climbing.