SALT LAKE CITY -- The economy may not be fully recovered yet, but hundreds of jobs are coming to Utah in the near future.
The Utah Transit Authority recently announced it intends to hire 263 employees to fill jobs that will be a part of its Front Lines 2015 project.
The Front Lines project comprises five rail lines across the state: the FrontRunner commuter rail between Salt Lake City and Provo, the Mid-Jordan Light Rail Line, the West Valley Light Rail Line, the Airport Light Rail Line and the Draper Light Rail Line.
The Mid-Jordan and West Valley lines are already operating and the remaining three projects will be completed and in full operation by 2015.
So far in 2011, UTA has hired 157 employees, mostly operators and mechanics, in conjunction with the two recently completed lines.
The two lines that could have the biggest job impact in the Top of Utah, the Airport Trax line and FrontRunner, will open in 2013 and 2014, respectively. UTA spokesman Gerry Carpenter said the two projects have been accelerated, which means they could be open even sooner.
Although none of the remaining projects actually exist inside Weber or Davis counties' boundaries, there will likely be an economic impact in the Top of Utah nonetheless.
"When (FrontRunner) opens, there will be new jobs across the entire system, not just for the southern portion," Carpenter said. "There will be more trains and we'll need more operators, more maintenance personnel, and more train hosts across the whole system."
Carpenter said to a certain degree, the Draper line could impact even the Top of Utah, as many bus drivers could be switching from bus to light rail, which would open bus-driving positions along the Wasatch Front.
The jobs announcement is in stark contrast to one UTA made 18 months ago.
In April 2010, the agency announced it would lay off 30 employees in an attempt to balance the budget after economic challenges that began in 2008 resulted in fluctuating, unpredictable fuel prices and a dramatic loss in sales tax revenues.
For more information on how to apply for UTA jobs, go to www.rideuta.com.