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Comments about ‘UTA rail service to Provo ready to come on line’

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Published: Saturday, Dec. 1 2012 12:43 a.m. MST

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rogerdpack
Orem, UT

this will probably never save 850 million in costs...if it can even keep up with operating costs.

William Gronberg
Payson, UT

Looking forward to using this wonderful new Utah asset.

captainAmerica
Orem, UT

@rogerdpack: For the individual consumers wise enough to use it, they will certainly save over what they would have spent on gas.

For the rest of us, it will save us from having to drink smog soup every time we walk outside! Provo-Orem is ranked the fastest growing metro area in the nation. I shudder to think what our air quality will be like 10 or 15 years from now if we don't take advantage of great assets like this.

The I-15 Core project cost 1.3 Billion, why are you not complaining about that? We'll never "save" that cost either. Some costs have to be absorbed so long as our population continues to grow.

one old man
Ogden, UT

Being a senior citizen, it costs me $4.85 to ride round trip from Ogden to SLC and back again. It costs about $16 for gasoline if I drive.

The only glitch is that sometimes the place I need to go in SLC is not well served by bus routes. Then, I HAVE to drive. But if it's at all possible, Frontrunner is my choice.

Now I'll be able to afford to go to Provo for museums and other offerings. I'm looking forward to being able to visit Thanksgiving Point more often.

This nation really blundered badly when we demolished rail passenger transportation. And we are continuing to blunder when we resist building high-speed rail systems between major cities.

rok
San Diego, CA

too bad it is 12 years too late for me to use.

1conservative
WEST VALLEY CITY, UT

I too hope ALL consumers take advantage of UTA whenever/wherever they can.

I ride the bus or use trax 4-5x per wk. Its a whole lot less stressful and the savings is another big plus.

BUT - I still believe UTA can be a whole lot better managed and that the upper 10% of their salaries are ridiculous.

Igualmente
Mesa, AZ

Although it's fast, neat, and cute, this new novelty will only be used by commuter workers, students, and those without vehicles, which is basically just a transfer of current passengers from the buses to the rails. There will be those who try it once or twice for leisure trips to shopping or events in either valley, and those trying it for connections to the light-rail to the U or airport.

Most however, will not abandon their cars and point-to-point transportation. How this service meets or exceeds demographic studies is suspect. This is not Europe or a large urban city. The traffic does not exist.

People in power, environmentalists, and those with vested interests, have slammed this down the throats of a gullible citizenry, who will now be saddled with mounting debt and never-ending bond and tax proposals to fund this fiasco. Voters be wary.

justaguy
Out There in, WI

I'm glad to see they were able to acquire the needed land without having to invoke eminent domain. While this would be a proper use of it, its still so much more pleasant that they didn't have to. And it also helped keep the cost down.

ahblid
Sandy, UT

Igualmente,

If what you say is true, and I don't believe it for a minute, then the "gullible citizenry" should be grateful that it was "slammed down their throats." The reason being? It costs them less for the train than for those buses that you seem to think everyone jumped off of in order to ride the train.

According to the National Transit Database for 2011, every time someone stepped on the Front Runner commuter train on the northern side it cost 49 cents per passenger mile to move those riders. After deducting the portion of costs paid for by the riders, it cost taxpayers 43 cents per passenger mile. Every time someone stepped on a bus it cost 87 cents per passenger mile and it cost taxpayers 70 cents per passenger mile.

And the traffic most certainly does seem to exist; back in 1996 when UTA was a bus only system, they had a annual ridership of 24,422,454 and total passenger miles of 115,028,777. As of 2011 those numbers with rail had increased to 40,487,616 rides & 301,728,030 passenger miles. Tapping into Provo is only going to increase the numbers.

What in Tucket?
Provo, UT

The cost is $850 million and 8600 riders a day. Call it 9,000 riders a day at $5 each way round trip then is $10 or $90,000 a day. This is $450,000 a week or say $2 million a month. Call it $ 25 million a year. So if it cost $850 million this would take 34 years to pay off if there were no expenses. Looks like another dive bombing of the tax payer. $1.3 billion for the I-15 job? Considering well over 100,000 riders a day that is not bad. I wonder when us taxpayers will just lie down and die?

ahblid
Sandy, UT

What in Tucket?,

Want to stop subsidizing train travel? Then lobby to fully pay for our roads & highways. Trains at one time used to be privately owned & operated. The government interfered in the Free Market by subsidizing flying and driving. At that point private enterprise could no longer compete with the big pockets of government.

When people think its cheaper for them to drive because they think that the only cost is that of the gas in their tank, they're going to chose driving if the price of the train tickets are set too high. The problem is that in addition to all the other costs that many drivers fail to account for, like insurance, wear & tear, etc, there is the massive subsidy that goes into roads & highways.

We drivers only manage to cover 51% of the costs of our highways via fuel taxes & other direct fees. With annual combined State & Federal spending hovering around $200 Billion, that's a $100 Billion subsidy to drivers. That would pay to run every train in the country for about 20 years and all public transportation for about 4 years. And again, that's just highway subsidies. Property taxes pay for most of the streets.

one old man
Ogden, UT

Interesting that some folks see Frontrunner as a sort of subsidy or gift to a few people.

But do any of them realize that the current IRS rates for mileage tax deductions are
55.5 cents per mile for business miles driven
23 cents per mile driven for medical or moving purposes
14 cents per mile driven in service of charitable organizations

Think about this for a moment and you can see that once again, businesses are receiving a big boost from the government. Why does businessman receive such a large boost over other people who must use private vehicles?

Just one more example of the disparity between the breaks given to so-called "job creators" by our Congresscritters.

SP
Salt Lake City, UT

Until I can ride Front Runner to an event at BYU, I won't consider this a complete system. Access to BYU from I-15 is really difficult. A train up University Ave, connecting BYU and UVU would be great.

SWP
Provo, UT

Hallelujah!

Schwa
South Jordan, UT

I'm so excited this is finally here! I'm tired of that drive up and down I-15!

Bubble
SLC, UT

@ What in Tucket: Yes, the beginning ridership is fairly low - but there is a very good chance that it will increase over time.

And, if you are going to "compare" costs and repayment, let's do it honestly - the full amount of the train fare does not go to pay for the costs of building the system, some of it goes to current operating costs and maintenance - to do an accurate comparison, we would need to know exactly how much money from every ticket went to each of those costs.

And then, we need to do the same thing for the highway - the federal fuel tax is 18.4 cents per gallon ($0.184) for gasoline and 22.4 cents ($0.244) for diesel. Utah State fuel taxes are 24.5 cents ($0.245). Instead of looking at the number of vehicles, we need to look at the number of gallons of gas spent traveling that distance - and we need to calculate how much is spent on funding new construction versus how much is maintenance.

Then, we need to look at secondary costs for both - time, frustration, pollution, parking, etc.

There is a reason most metropolitan areas use trains.

CentralUtah
Alpine, UT

There are 70 people who ride the UTA express bus everyday (standing room only) from Northern Utah County. They cancelled it to force people on the train, even though every person on the bus signed a petition to keep it running.

It will add 3 transfers and 45 minutes.

UTA doesn't listen to it's customers. Why can't they have express busses and the train?

What will keep FrontRunner from catching hold is UTA has never figured out the East-West component of this equation. Sure the train will get you to the station, but then how do you get around from there?

ahblid
Sandy, UT

CentralUtah wrote: "They cancelled it to force people on the train ...... Why can't they have express busses and the train?"

They didn't cancel it to force people onto the train. And the reason they can't have both is because people don't want to pay for both. Too many people are screaming about how much of their taxes go into UTA.

So when it costs UTA 49 cents per passenger mile to put people on the train and the taxpayers have to pick up 43 cents of that and it costs 87 cents per passenger mile to put people on a bus and the taxpayers have to pick up 70 cents of that; you cancel the bus in favor of the train.

As for getting around in SLC, upon arrival at the train station, one boards a light rail train to get around downtown.

barbara
Carlsbad, CA

We get back to Utah on a regular basis and I think it is a fabulous feat, to have overcome so many obstacles in order to provide more public transportation. Not everyone has an auto or wants to make that drive. And the scenery, along with avoiding the infamous Point of the Mountain, is a big plus. Now, we can watch the hang gliders and parasailers without road distraction.

Sqweebie
Salt Lake City, UT

but those who are on fixed incomes will still not be able to use it even as a family day trip. I do plan on going on it Saturday to get out of SLC but after that I know I won't use it.

The excuse of not running the express bus is bogus - they have front runner and an express bus that goes to Ogden as well as a slower bus that goes in the same direction. They have at least 5 bus lines that pretty much travel the same route to get to UofU. 35th South has 2 buses running on it. This is wasteful spending. so glad that I don't have UTA running my wallet as I would be in the red constantly.

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