Now that the Salt Lake County Commission and the Salt Lake Area Chamber of Commerce have approved a report on the future of transportation in the Salt Lake Valley for the next 25 years, the next step is implementing the plan.
That word came Tuesday from Deedee Corradini, Business/Government Alliance chairwoman, during the regular meeting of the Salt Lake Area Chamber of Commerce Board of Governors. The alliance's Transportation Task Force recently completed the report and is pushing for its support.Corradini said it became obvious 15 months ago that something had to be done to improve the transportation problems in the valley, mainly because of the crowded freeways. She said it is realistic that a light rail system will be operating in the valley within 8 years.
Lowell Durham, task force chairman, said the plan calls for adequate funding and maintenance of existing freeways, highways, roads and the Utah Transit Authority bus system. He said retention and expansion of the freeway system is imperative to have a good transportation system in the valley.
Another part of the plan calls for construction of a light rail system from the south part of the valley into downtown Salt Lake City that will connect with the UTA system.
A third plan is to expand I-15, improve the interchanges and possibly build special lanes for vehicles with multiple riders and also build special bus lanes.
Durham said he and other task force members visited several light rail systems and were most impressed by the Portland, Ore., system. "You would be amazed at the development and redevelopment that have sprung up around the light rail systems that total as much money as the system itself," Durham said.
John Pingree, UTA general manager and a member of the chamber's Board of Governors, said the UTA board members plan to visit several light rail systems in the next few months to look at the operation. The board also may ask the Legislature to increase the sales tax to help fund the system.