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GORE PROMISES U.S. HELP FOR S.L.'S WINTER GAMES

Vice President Al Gore promised Wednesday to give all federal assistance possible to Salt Lake City as it hosts the 2002 Winter Olympics.

And an administration task force gave a preview of what it can offer when it reported on a long list of help it has already given to Atlanta for the summer Olympics there next year.That ranges from funding extra buses and highway improvements to military assistance for security, State Department help on protocol issues and tax breaks to help clean up blighted areas.

"Our job here in Washington must be to fully support the initiatives of the organizers and local and state authorities in whatever way we can," Gore said of Olympics in Atlanta and Salt Lake City at a task force meeting.

That came after the administration earlier in the day announced it agreed to put $241 million in budgets over the next several years to pay 80 percent of the cost for a new light-rail system in Salt Lake County for which completion is expected by 2001.

Gore added his congratulations to Mayor Deedee Corradini on her city's successful Olympic bid. "We were all very excited at the news, and we're already getting up to full speed on the next American Games. We're very happy for you and our country."

Tom Welch, chief executive officer of the Salt Lake Olympic Organizing Committee, said, "We've received every assurance by the administration that it will provide all the support possible - and the same level of cooperation it has given to Atlanta."

Frank Joklik, chairman of the organizing committee, added, "The administration has already been very helpful. When we made our bid, the State Department got word out through the embassies that the U.S. government fully supported our bid, and that helped."

Billy Payne, chief of the Atlanta organizing committee, also said, "We have received absolute and total cooperation."

His committee and the administration released a long list of some of that help in Atlanta so far, including:

- The departments of Defense, Justice, State, Treasury and Transportation are working with a group of 43 state, local and federal law agencies to ensure security.

- The Federal Transit Administration assembled 2,000 buses nationwide to supplement Atlanta's fleet during the Olympics.

- The Federal Highway Administration is helping develop a statewide incident management information system to help keep traffic flowing and has funded improvements of pedestrian walkways, highways and streets.

- The administration declared many rundown areas in Atlanta as eligible for a special tax break that encouraged new investment and cleanup.

- The Federal Emergency Management Agency is coordinating all hazard emergency planning and response.

- The Energy Department funded some "showcase" uses of new technologies, including new-generation solar panels that are helping provide power in some venues such as the main swimming facility.

- The Environmental Protection Agency is assisting in developing strategies for solid waste management and recycling during the Games and helped construct a 16-mile bike/pedestrian path from Georgia Tech University to Stone Mountain.

- The National Weather Service is providing weather observation, forecasting and warning.

- The Natural Resources Conservation Service is helping with efforts to protect the environment from damage during the Games, including providing technical expertise to stabilize stream banks and restore wetlands.