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7/14/2008



Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

Senate committee allocates funds for three transit agencies


Last week, the Senate Appropriations Committee signed off on a fiscal-year 2009 Department of Transportation appropriations bill that included millions of dollars for two transit agencies.

The bill earmarks more than $100 million for Utah transit and economic development projects, including $81.6 million to the Utah Transit Authority (UTA) to begin preliminary design and environmental work to extend the FrontRunner commuter-rail line to Payson and Brigham City. The bill also would include $10 million to extend the Mid-Jordan light-rail line 10 miles west from the 6400 South TRAX station through Murray, Midvale, West Jordan and South Jordan.

In addition, the committee earmarked $5 million to UTA to extend TRAX light-rail service form the current Arena Station in downtown Salt Lake City to the Gateway Intermodal Hub — enabling FrontRunner passengers to transfer to TRAX lines — continue environmental design for the West Valley City Intermodal Hub, and purchase land for hubs in Orem and Provo.

The committee also appropriated $128.8 million for Sound Transit's light-rail projects. The bill would provide $100 million for the 3.2-mile downtown Seattle-to-University of Washington University Link, and $28.8 million to complete the initial Link light-rail system, which is scheduled to open next year.

Meanwhile, Sens. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) and Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) secured a $75 million appropriation for New Jersey Transit's Access to the Region's Core project, which the agency will use to continue engineering for the two new rail tunnels to be built under the Hudson River. The project also includes building a new station beneath 34th Street in Manhattan, and completing signal and track improvements along the Northeast Corridor.


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