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The opening of the FrontRunner South line to Provo is an investment in the future, said Michael Allegra, UTA general manager, at the line’s grand opening Thursday morning.
“It’s an investment not only for today, but for many generations to come,” he said. Allegra said the opening of the line and the continuation of public transit in Utah is a big day for the Wasatch Front and state of Utah.
The 45-mile commuter rail extension connects Salt Lake to Provo by an hour-long train ride. The project adds seven new stations to the FrontRunner line at Murray, South Jordan, Draper, Lehi, American Fork, Orem and Provo, with an eighth Vineyard station already planned.
Construction on the line began in August 2008 and was finished two years ahead of schedule. It cost $850 million, which all came from local funding.
UTA Chair Greg Hughes said the country has never seen three transit lines open on one day, like UTA did last year, nor has it seen four lines open in consecutive quarters. The airport TRAX line is opening in April, and the Draper and Sugarhouse streetcar lines are planned to open in August and December, respectively.
Hughes attributed that success to support from the community and other stakeholders in the project.
Allegra agreed, saying, “We go through the backyards of 45 different cities and without their help, cooperation, support and spirit, we wouldn’t be here today and have done what we’ve done in record-breaking time.”
“As we continue to grow and expand—and we know that we can’t build more roads to ease the congestion—these systems will become more and more essential to our quality of life,” said Soren Simonsen, Salt Lake City Council chairman.
UTA is offering free rides Saturday, Dec. 8 on the new line. Anyone can bring a non-perishable food item to any of the seven stations on the FrontRunner South line for a free ride. The train will be running every half hour from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.
For more information about FrontRunner, visit www.rideuta.com.