As UVSC moves toward its transition to UVU and enrollment numbers rise, transportation and parking may become a serious issue among students and faculty on campus.
A possible solution to this pending concern, however, is already nearing the construction phase and recently received a substantial sum from the federal government to push it further toward completion.
On Monday, Sept. 24, the Utah Transit Authority completed a letter of intent with the Federal Transit Agency calling for the federal government to pay $500 million, or 20 percent of the total expense estimated at more than $2 billion, toward the construction of five new rail lines.
The remaining expense will be covered by taxpayers in the Salt Lake and Utah counties.
Four of these five lines will be light-rail, intended to extend TRAX throughout the Salt Lake County. UTA plans to first complete the mid-Jordan line by 2011, then the West Valley line by 2012, followed by the Salt Lake International Airport and Draper lines by 2014, according to Deseret Morning News.
The fifth line will be a commuter rail, stretching from Salt Lake City, past UVSC, to Provo; this is currently titled FrontRunner, and unlike TRAX, it will feature diesel locomotives and two-level passenger coaches to carry passengers. This line will have less frequent stops, cover longer distances, and travel at higher speeds, topping out at 79 mph, according to UTA’s website, www.rideuta.com
Extensive planning went into this line, which is currently in its environmental phase of construction.
Independently, "the cost of this project is $880 million," stated Chad Saley, UTA spokesperson.
The University Parkway Station, which will be constructed just across I-15, will be directly accessible to UVU students, providing a low-cost and efficient method of travel to the quickly expanding college population.
Because of the combined interest of both UTA and UVSC, "we have been actively working with UVSC on the station," said Saley. This station has been marked as a potential "Intermodal Center," meaning it will act as a UTA hub, providing a connection between various forms of transportation, such as rail and bus.
"The commuter rails will have a definite effect on the community’s infrastructure; many can and will take commuter rail as an efficient and economical alternative to driving," said Utah Representative Paul Ray of House District 13, who represents the Davis County area where UTA’s commuter rail north is nearing completion.
Once construction begins in Utah County, commuters can expect a low impact on travel, according to Saley. To minimize the inconveniences of construction, UTA employs an active public participation process by sending regular construction updates and holding monthly general meetings within the community.
"The project is scheduled to be completed no later than 2015, although our goal is to have it built a few years prior to that, if we can," said Saley.
For additional information, visit www.rideuta.com