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FEDERAL OLYMPIC TAB SET AT $1.4 BILLION

Utah congressmen are defending federal spending in their state after congressional investigators reported the government plans to spend $1.4 billion on the 2002 Winter Olympic Games in Salt Lake City.

"The delegation's been out in front for Utah trying to get everything we can for our Olympics. Here in the hometown, we are honored for doing that," said Rep. Merrill Cook, a Republican who represents Salt Lake City.

The report released by the congressional General Accounting Office says about $1.1 billion of the Olympic-related spending will be for transportation projects such as highways and a commuter railway that probably would have been built anyway.

Critics of such spending said it was too lavish and noted the scandal over Salt Lake City boosters' improper gifts to International Olympic Committee members.