Work starts on new TRAX line to the airport

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Today the Utah Transit Authority broke ground on what it calls its number-one priority: a new TRAX line.

The new six-mile extension will run from downtown Salt Lake to the Salt Lake International Airport.

"With this groundbreaking, Salt Lake City joins other great cities around the world to really become a city that ties by rail its downtown and its communities to an international airport service," Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker said.

He hopes it will revitalize the west side and turn North Temple into a grand boulevard.

In June, Becker signed an agreement with UTA to start the design and construction for the line.

The city is granting UTA the use of city streets and property and will pay UTA up to $35 million for the project. It should be complete in three to four years.

Lane Beattie, the president of the Salt Lake Chamber, says the airport TRAX line could serve up to 14,000 people per day. The line will have five stops along North Temple.

The project is part of UTA's larger plan to extend TRAX to Draper, West Jordan and West Valley and to operate a FrontRunner train to Provo.

All the projects are to be operational by 2015. UTA officials have discussed opening the airport and Draper TRAX lines early -- in 2013 and 2012, respectively -- and pushing back the FrontRunner opening date to early 2013.


(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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Mary Richards and AP


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