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Ogden Drops Studies of Tram to Snowbasin

Ogden Drops Studies of Tram to Snowbasin

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OGDEN, Utah (AP) -- The City Council has decided against spending any more money on studies of a tram to Snowbasin.

However, the council members, meeting in a work session last week, still are interested in a gondola from downtown to Weber State University.

A $59,561 feasibility study of that leg of the project already has been completed and should be released later this week.

City administrators hope a gondola from downtown Ogden to Weber State will be seen as a viable part of the long-range transportation plan being developed by the Wasatch Front Regional Council and the Utah Transit Authority.

However, a WFRC engineer said in February that the plan would be confined to rubber and rail ground transportation, such as express bus, streetcar and light rail.

A tram extending from the Intermodal Hub in downtown Ogden all the way to Snowbasin has been a longtime dream of Stuart Reid, Ogden's community and economic development director since 2001.

But the tram concept split the community even before Reid's tenure. A 1998 council resolution stated that the city would not publicly fund a tram to Snowbasin.

"We've voted twice not to fund it," said Jesse Garcia. "If it happens, it should be privately funded."

Some continue to view a tram as a potential magnet for tourists and retailers, while others fear it would damage the environment and end up as a white elephant.

"From downtown to the university was acceptable to all of us, but up the mountain wasn't," said Councilman Kent Jorgenson. "It was my understanding we weren't going that far."

However, Mayor Matthew Godfrey contends Snowbasin should still be considered.

"We need to look at the viability of a tram to Snowbasin.... It's an important project that needs to stay on the radar screen," Godfrey said.

The workgroup dealing with Goal No. 9 consisted of Godfrey, Councilwoman Amy Wicks and Public Services Director John Patterson.

Wicks opposed putting any more city funds into further feasibility studies for a tram to Snowbasin.

"I also have concerns over how it would impact Ogden in the long run," Wicks said. "I've visited cities where trams sit idle and have reservations about this one being even remotely successful."

The council dropped the Snowbasin goal.

(Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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