Utah to receive nearly $49 million for transit projects

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SALT LAKE CITY -- A big boost in funding for UTA means projects are moving forward, creating jobs in the process.

The U.S. Department of Transportation made the announcement Thursday night that more than $48 million would be headed to UTA as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment act. UTA says the funds were distributed to several states with shovel-ready projects, which fortunately Utah had.

More than half of the $48 million received will be used to renovate the old ZCMI warehouse at 2264 S. 900 West. It will become the new Jordan River Service Center.

Lynn Lewis, UTA project manager of the Jordan River Service Center, said, "That's exciting for us. It means that we can get started."

The new Jordan River Service Center was expected to be finished sometime in 2015. But now the project, from start to finish, will only take two years.

"Getting the funds up-front means that we can make commitments to the contractors, the subcontractors," Lewis said.

Of the $48.3 million, the service center will spend $24.8 of it renovating the building. Once it's finished, there will be seven light-rail tracks into the building, with three or four more going around it. Inside, there will be wheel repair shop, a washing facility and much more.

"We have great big pits to access under the vehicles so that you can repair them. We have big platforms to get on top of the vehicles so you can repair on top," Lewis said.

The new service center will be three times the size of UTA's current one and will employ 200 people when it's done. The construction, however, will provide another 180 jobs.

According to the American Public Transportation Association, for every one million dollars spent on transportation construction, 36 people are indirectly put to work. That would mean 864 people are indirectly working with the project, along with the 180 people directly involved.

UTA spokesman Gerry Carpenter says that's exactly what President Barack Obama intended the money to do.

He said, "For every worker we can employ here, renovating our new service center, that is someone working that might not have a job otherwise."

So where is the rest of the stimulus money going? UTA says it will be used in several places.

  • $15 million for preventative maintenance
  • $7 million to purchase new buses
  • $483,000 to improve security on its transit system.

"The whole idea behind the stimulus money is to create jobs and keep people working, and that's exactly what this money will be doing in Utah," Carpenter said.

Carpenter say when the provision was added to the American Recovery and Reinvestment act to allow state transportation agencies to apply for funding, dozens of agencies across the U.S. applied for it. He says UTA is excited to have received as much as they did.


Story compiled with contributions from Shara Park and Andrew Adams.

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