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UTA's TRAX light-rail system turns 10

Today, the Utah Transit Authority (UTA) is marking the TRAX light-rail system’s 10th anniversary.

On Dec. 4, 1999, the authority launched the system as a 15-mile north-south line connecting Sandy City and downtown Salt Lake City. The system carried more than 600,000 riders during its first month of operation. Now, TRAX averages between 40,000 and 50,000 riders each weekday.

In December 2001, UTA opened a second light-rail line from downtown to the University of Utah Rice-Eccles Stadium prior to the 2002 Winter Olympics. Additional TRAX extensions opened to the University of Utah Medical Center in 2003 and Salt Lake Central Station in 2008, when UTA introduced its first commuter-rail line, FrontRunner, running 44 miles from Salt Lake City to Pleasant View.

Through a FrontLines 2015 initiative, UTA plans to expand its passenger-rail network more than 70 miles by 2015. Three new TRAX lines are under construction with a fourth in the environmental study phase. The authority also plans to extend FrontRunner service 45 miles south from Salt Lake City to Provo.

“We’re creating the backbone of a system that will make Utah a model for public transportation in the West,” said UTA General Manager John Inglish in a prepared statement. “Our goal is for 90 percent of the population of the Wasatch Front to live within one mile of a major transit stop by 2030.”

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 12/4/2009