Kristin Murphy, Deseret News
DRAPER — This weekend, light rail will officially begin taking passengers farther into the south end of the Salt Lake Valley than ever before.
The Utah Transit Authority’s Blue Line will welcome the 3.8-mile Draper TRAX extension.
The Draper TRAX line will mark the completion of the FrontLines 2015 project, which adds more than 70 miles of new rail lines to the UTA system and was completed two years ahead of schedule and $300 million under budget, according to the agency.
The occasion was recognized at a ceremony attended by the nation's top transportation official.
"What this project means for this region is better access to jobs for hardworking families, less time stuck in traffic. ... The air is clearer and cleaner," said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, speaking to the crowd of nearly 100 people in the parking lot of the Draper Towne Center. "And it means that this region — which is already one of the fastest growing in the country — will be better prepared to handle more people as they make the Salt Lake City region their home."
Foxx added that developing efficient transit will give more families the opportunity to spend more quality time together rather than wasting time commuting to and from work. The U.S. Transportation Department is also trying to help other regions develop transit similar to the way Utah has in recent years, he said.
"We're working with local communities to make sure that we are doing everything we can to streamline the process to help other communities achieve their transit projects not only on time, but also under budget," Foxx said.
The department’s Federal Transit Administration awarded a New Starts Capital Investment Grant for the Draper extension that runs from the Blue Line’s current terminus at 10000 South in Sandy to 12400 South in Draper. The three additional stops include the Crescent View station located at 361 E. 11400 South, Kimballs Lane at 11796 S. 700 East and the new terminus at 1131 E. Pioneer Road (12400 South).
The extension is the final project of UTA’s FrontLines 2015 rail program. Construction for the project began in 2008 and included five light rail lines: the $370 million West Valley extension (Green Line), the $535 million Mid-Jordan line (Red Line), the $350 million Airport line (Green Line) and the $143 million Draper TRAX extension on the Blue Line, along with the $850 million FrontRunner South commuter rail line from Salt Lake City to Provo.
On Saturday, UTA will also host activities and a food drive for the Utah Food Bank in celebrating the opening of the Draper extension. From 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., passengers can ride the UTA system for free in exchange for a non-perishable food item.
The Draper TRAX line opens for revenue service on Sunday and is expected to carry 2,250 passengers per day by the year 2015.
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