SALT LAKE COUNTY

Utah lawmaker requests funding for west side bus service

Jan 29, 2024, 2:00 PM

A FrontRunner train approaches the intersection of 300 North and 490 West that now has a new pedest...

A FrontRunner train approaches the intersection of 300 North and 490 West that now has a new pedestrian bridge, crossing two Utah Transit Authority and three Union Pacific rail lines, in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, Oct. 18, 2023. The crossing is on a route heavily used by West High School students walking to and from school. (Kristin Murphy, Deseret News)

(Kristin Murphy, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE COUNTY— A Utah lawmaker is asking the state legislature for funding to help create a major public transportation service for residents on the west side of Salt Lake County. 

Utah Senate Minority Leader Luz Escamilla (D-Salt Lake City) presented a $4 million proposal to the Infrastructure and General Government Appropriations Subcommittee on Monday. It is regarding the Utah Transit Authority’s ‘Westside Express” project.

Sen. Escamilla asked the subcommittee for the money to help bridge a gap in funding for the project.

“We’re going to need more active transportation, ability, and bus routes to get us to the places we need to get [to] … 

According to documents on UTA’s website, the Westside Express project would create an electric bus route running along 5600 West from the Old Bingham Highway to the Salt Lake City International Airport. The route will then cross over to Salt Lake City’s west side. Then, it will make its way into downtown Salt Lake City. 

According to Sen. Escamilla’s presentation, it would create a 15-minute, one-seat electric service across 29 miles of Salt Lake County. Twenty-two new bus stops would be added, each equipped with a bus shelter, benches, and lighting.

The route would run along 5600 West from the Old Bingham Highway to the airport, before crossing all the way over to downtown Salt Lake City. 

The project will cost more than $50 million. So far, it has $46 million allocated from various sources.

All funding proposals, including this one, need the approval of the full legislature before any money is handed out. Construction on the project is also more than a year away from starting up.

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Utah lawmaker requests funding for west side bus service