Multi-member coalition forms to guide development along Ogden BRT

Thursday , February 15, 2018 - 5:00 AM2 comments

OGDEN — Funding is still in question, but Ogden City, the Utah Transit Authority and other government agencies are working to shape development around a proposed Bus Rapid Transit project.

Ogden Onboard, a large partnership made of project stakeholders, has formed to study development opportunities for a BRT system that would run between Ogden’s Intermodal Transit Center, Weber State University and the McKay-Dee Hospital.

RELATED: Resolution on how to fund Ogden BRT project proving difficult

The transit line would begin at the transit center at 2350 Wall Ave., head east on 23rd Street to Washington Boulevard, south to 25th Street, then east up 25th Street to Harrison Boulevard, connecting to WSU and a planned transit center at the Dee Events Center.

McKay-Dee Hospital would be the final stop on the line.

The idea has existed since 2004 when the original proposal called for a streetcar system. Though the mode has changed, the project has consistently been spoken of as one that will stimulate the economy, improve air quality and provide a transit link between Ogden’s downtown, the university and the hospital.

The recently formed development coalition includes UTA, a group of urban planning consultants and an advisory committee that includes the city, Weber County, WSU, the hospital, the Wasatch Front Regional Council and the Utah Department of Transportation.

RELATED: Still no timetable for Ogden/Weber State public transit connection

According to a city press release, the group will hold their first public meeting Thursday, Feb. 22, from 6-8 p.m. at James Madison Elementary School, 2563 Monroe Blvd., Ogden.

The group’s aim, according to their website, is to support transit-oriented development along the BRT line. Specific development goals include the following:

• Preserving affordable housing along the route.

• Improving access to services.

• Creating “welcoming” stops and station areas on the line.

• Improving the overall connectivity of the region’s transit system.

The city, UTA, the county and WSU need to raise a local match of about $26 million to help fund the estimated $75 million project.

If the local governments can secure their portion, remaining costs would be paid for with federal dollars, administered by the Federal Transit Administration.

RELATED: Funding the Ogden BRT: UTA says Prop 1 money likely off the table

In December, the Weber County Commission tabled a decision to contribute $6 million toward the project after the Weber Area Council of Governments voted against it. North Ogden Mayor and then WACOG member Brent Taylor led the charge against the contribution, saying UTA should use sales tax dollars to pay for the needed $6 million.

Ogden Mayor Mike Caldwell called that request unrealistic and noted that his city far and away contributes the most tax dollars to the county’s transportation fund. Caldwell said if the project is ever to be completed, an application (with local funding earmarked) must be submitted to the FTA by the spring.

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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