Salt Lake City-area commuters got a big boost recently as U.S. Secretary of Transportation Norman Mineta sealed an agreement with the Utah Transit Authority (UTA) for $489 million in federal funding for the FrontRunner Weber County-to-Salt Lake City Commuter Rail line.
The money will be used to build the new 44 mile commuter rail line that is expected to carry almost 12,000 weekday passengers taking nearly 6,000 cars off the roads everyday Mineta said during a recent visit to the Farmington Station construction site.
"Because it runs parallel to I-15, this rail line offers a common-sense solution to highway congestion to and from Salt Lake City," Mineta said. "Taking more cars off the road during rush hours will help keep people and products moving through Salt Lake City safely and on time, no matter which path they choose."
The Full Funding Grant Agreement represents the federal government's commitment to provide funding for the project, Mineta said. The funds will be allocated over a seven-year period from 2006 through 2012.
This allows construction to continue on the new commuter rail line, which will provide service from Pleasant View to the existing Salt Lake City Intermodal Terminal in downtown Salt Lake City, with stops in Salt Lake, Weber and Davis counties.
The line's downtown terminal will provide commuter rail passengers a direct connection for commuter rail, light rail and passenger rail with UTA buses and Greyhound intercity bus service. Feeder buses will provide transportation from the terminal to local business and residential areas.
The grant—the largest award given to the state for a single project—will allow more workers to get to Salt Lake City's booming businesses, Mineta said.
UTA plans to begin operating the line in November 2008, with service at 20-minute intervals during peak periods and every 40 minutes during off-peak periods. At startup, it will serve 6,100 people a day, and up to 12,500 people daily by 2025.