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6/26/2015



Rail News: Passenger Rail

Salt Lake City's light-rail system produced economic benefits, study says


A partnership between the Utah Transit Authority and Siemens on the UTA's light-rail and streetcar projects has resulted in 1,300 new jobs that have spurred $225 million in value to Salt Lake City's economy, according to a Siemens-sponsored study.

The study was conducted by the Boston-based Economic Development Research Group, which Siemens hired to assess the economic impact of the project. The results were released earlier this week in conjunction with the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) Rail Conference in Salt Lake City, Siemens officials said in a press release.

"TRAX has been reliable and a success by any measure with some of the highest ridership numbers in the entire UTA system. The economic development along our lines has been steady and a huge benefit to the entire community," said Michael Allegra, UTA's president and chief executive officer.

Since 1996, Siemens manufactured and delivered 117 light-rail vehicles for UTA's TRAX light-rail and S-Line Streetcar lines. The customized light-rail cars were built at Siemens manufacturing hub in Sacramento, Calif.

The study's results indicated that the city's light-rail extension helped to manage traffic congestion by reducing residents' dependence on cars, improved local air quality by reducing the region's carbon footprint, and helped spur high-density development.

The study examined long-term economic benefits such as spatial efficiency, private-sector investment, and cost savings that are reinvested elsewhere. For example, major companies including Adobe, eBay, Goldman Sachs, Overstock.com, and Workday have made office location decisions based, in part, by proximity to the TRAX and FrontRunner stations, Siemens officials said.

The report shows the city's economic success can be attributed in part to its "commitment to transportation investment as a state," said Abby Albrecht, director of Utah Transportation Coalition.

To learn more about UTA's light-rail system, read this article in the May issue of Progressive Railroading.




Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

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