Still no timetable for Ogden/Weber State public transit connection

Wednesday , May 31, 2017 - 5:00 AM1 comment

MITCH SHAW, Standard-Examiner Staff

OGDEN — It took more than a decade to decide on the mode for a public transit service between downtown Ogden, Weber State University and McKay-Dee Hospital.

Bus Rapid Transit was finally chosen over streetcar, with the Ogden City Council casting the deciding vote nearly two years ago. But the project is still essentially in limbo status, being held up by funding uncertainty, according to Utah Transit Authority officials.

RELATED: Ogden City Council relinquishes streetcar dream for now

Ogden Mayor Mike Caldwell said the project is in UTA’s court right now, with the agency performing engineering and design work.

UTA spokesman Remi Barron said state and local funding is being sought by the agency to complete an Environmental Assessment, which is required to start going after federal funding. So in essence, UTA needs funding to get funding.

And Caldwell said the project, the actual construction of it, will be largely dependent on federal money.

UTA will likely go after federal New Starts funding, which can cover up to 50 percent of the project’s capital costs; plus federal Surface Transportation Program funds and Congestion Mitigation/Air Quality funds, the latter two of which are administered by the Wasatch Front Regional Council.

City and county money will be a part of the equation.

“But a lot of this depends on the ability to get that federal match,” Caldwell said.

RELATED: Ogden awarded $250,000 for planning along future BRT corridor

The BRT route would begin at Ogden’s Intermodal Transit Center at 2350 Wall Avenue, then head east on 23rd Street to Washington Boulevard, south to 25th Street, then east up 25th Street to Harrison Boulevard, before linking to Weber State University and a planned intermodal transit hub to be built at the Dee Event Center.

McKay-Dee Hospital will be the last, southernmost stop for the corridor.

UTA estimates the project would cost somewhere between $60-$70 million for construction, with another $1.6 million per year for operations and maintenance.

So with funding still in question, Barron said, solid timelines simply don’t exist for construction and for when the potential service could start transporting riders. 

“It’s a long process,” Barron said. “It’s not something that’s just easily done.”

You can reach reporter Mitch Shaw at mishaw@standard.net. Follow him on Twitter at @mitchshaw23 or like him on Facebook at facebook.com/mitchshaw.standardexaminer.

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