BUSINESS + ECONOMY

UTA moves off $1 billion proposal for TRAX at Point of the Mountain

Jan 21, 2021, 8:33 AM

brand new rail cars...

Twenty brand new rail cars on the TRAX Blue Line are coming soon thanks in part to a $60 million grant. Travelers get off a TRAX train at the Draper Town Center stop in Draper on Wednesday, May 10, 2017. The stop is the terminus of the Blue Line. (PHOTO: Deseret News)

(PHOTO: Deseret News)

DRAPER, Utah — The Utah Transit Authority (UTA) is ditching the proposal of a $1 billion TRAX line at Point of the Mountain. The proposed line would have stretched from Draper to Lehi and advocates claim it would have sparked development in the area, especially around the soon-to-be vacated state prison site at the Point of the Mountain.

Discarding TRAX proposal, targeting BRT

The decision from UTA comes following a year and a half study into transit expansion in the area. In the end, officials decided that it would make more sense to build a less expensive bus rapid transit (BRT) system.

“They both would have economic and land-use benefits,” Patti Garver, Point of the Mountain Study project manager told the UTA Board last week.

She says the 8-mile BRT project will likely cost somewhere between $300 million and $400 million. Additionally, Garver points out that a BRT system can be built much more quickly than a TRAX line.

Before the UTA Board makes a final decision, the agency will seek buy-in from city councils, regional planning agencies and a UTA advisory board of local leaders.

Buses in a BRT system are longer and often have road lanes exclusively for their use.

“You wouldn’t know that you are not on rail because the vehicles are almost like train cars in design,” Garver told the UTA Board.

Looking at other BRT systems

UTA is planning to build a BRT system between downtown Ogden and Weber State University. They are also studying possible BRT’s from northern Utah County to Orem or Provo and from Davis County to downtown Salt Lake City.

The current Utah Valley Express BRT system in Orem and Provo offers service every 6 minutes at peak times, which is often quicker than TRAX. It also has been enjoying free fares since it opened thanks to a federal grant.

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UTA moves off $1 billion proposal for TRAX at Point of the Mountain