Richard Piatt ReportingPeace and quiet may be on the horizon for a west side Salt Lake City neighborhood. But there will still be plenty of noisy nights ahead for people who live along the 900 South rail line.
Today Salt Lake City's mayor and Union Pacific Railroad announced a deal to move the trains off the 9th South line. But the mayor is already being criticized over certain aspects of the deal, including the fact it's not a sure thing.
The tracks Union Pacific would use instead of the 900 South tracks run near South Temple. But they need tens of millions of dollars of improvements. It’s just one of the things that makes this good news with a 'yeah, but' attached to it. The deal is a glimmer of hope the trains will leave --but not much more right now.
Rocky Anderson, Salt Lake City Mayor: “Although this agreement doesn’t guarantee the abandonment of the 900 S. line, it is an absolutely crucial step toward that goal.”
But that's more than people who live near the 9th South rail line had before. What they continue to have is 24 hours of train whistles and more---a situation they consider unbearable. Under this deal, Union Pacific would move those trains a couple miles north to its main line. But the deal hinges on about 40-million dollars of federal money by 2007.
Edie Trimmer, Lives Near 900 South Rail Line: "I would like it to be sooner than later. It is a huge negating factor in our neighborhood. But the possibility and hope that it may be gone outweighs that."
Today the deal took on a political tone when the mayor's critics criticized its the timing and legitimacy.
Sen. James Evans, (R) Salt Lake City: “What we would like is the who what where why and when the trains are going to be moved. That's missing."
What will happen are upgrades to several crossings that will reduce the need for so many whistles. Residents are counting on those and on Union Pacific's claim it will close the line for good--a claim it made a year before 9th South started running again.
Phillip Gonzales, Resident: "Their good faith is going to be on the line here; hopefully they won't do that again.”