County Officials Fast-Tracking Transit Projects

County Officials Fast-Tracking Transit Projects

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- Officials in Weber, Davis and Salt Lake counties are putting light-rail and commuter-rail projects on the Wasatch Front on a fast track, saying they want key elements to be completed by 2012.

The Wasatch Front Regional Council, which approves transportation spending and transit projects in the tri-county area, is planning an accelerated schedule for TRAX lines to be built in Draper, the neighborhood of Sugarhouse and to Salt Lake City International Airport. Commuter rail from Salt Lake City to Provo will also be included in first eight-year construction phase.

"I think we've already seen how popular the light rail from Sandy to downtown Salt Lake seems to be, and it's needed in other parts of the valley," said South Jordan Mayor Kent Money, who chairs the council's 2030 transit committee.

The council had earlier approved a 30-year transit plan that called for commuter-rail systems from Weber County to Salt Lake City and light-rail lines to either West Valley City or West Jordan.

But the completion prospects for the six different transit projects are unclear in light of uncertain federal funding. The Bush administration has limited transit grants to 50 percent, from up to 80 percent a few years ago.

The council has voted to seek a half-cent sales tax increase within four years to generate about $100 million a year in revenue. That money would be in addition to the $100 million the Utah Transportation Authority now gets to operate TRAX and other transit projects.

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

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