OGDEN — With all local agreements for the Ogden Bus Rapid Transit project in place, a Northern Utah group will head to Washington, D.C. early next month to pitch the proposal to the feds.

A local funding match for the estimated $79 million undertaking has been hashed out for sometime now, but the final formality in the process was completed last week when the Ogden City Council approved a Memorandum of Understanding for the project. The MOU clarifies specific duties and financial contributions of each of the local entities involved with the project.

The BRT line would provide a fixed transit connection between Ogden’s downtown, Weber State University and the McKay-Dee Hospital.

The service would originate at the Utah Transit Authority transit center at 2350 Wall Ave., head east on 23rd Street to Washington Boulevard, go south along Washington Boulevard to 25th Street, turn east along 25th Street to Harrison Boulevard, then south to WSU and a planned transit center at the Dee Events Center.

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

Earlier this year, Weber County agreed to contribute $5 million to the project and UTA earmarked $7 million from its Prop 1 quarter-cent sales tax reserve.

Before that, the Weber Area Council of Governments had previously approved $2.5 million for the project, with the Wasatch Front Regional Council and UTA committing $1.5 million and $1 million, respectively. The combined contributions, paired with certain right of way donations from Ogden City, make the project eligible for a Federal Transit Administration grant that would pay for the remainder of the project’s cost.

Ogden Mayor Mike Caldwell will head the group traveling to the capital, which includes several representatives from UTA, the Salt Lake City Chamber of Commerce and WFRC’s Executive Director Andrew Gruber.

Caldwell said the group is set to visit Washington on Sept. 5 and 6 and will meet with members of Utah’s congressional delegation and the FTA.

“We just want to tell them about the need for this project and let them know it’s shovel ready if we can that federal match,” Caldwell said.

The mayor says the BRT will function as regional economic driver, stimulating new development along its route, but more importantly it will shuttle large numbers of people through the heart of Ogden’s downtown to WSU and the hospital. UTA expects 3,300 riders on the first day of service, with ridership increasing as time goes by.

“The one person, one car model won’t work for us anymore,” Caldwell said. “Weber State for example, they still have the same 5,000 parking stalls that were there when I went to school in 1992.”

Caldwell said the FTA will likely make a decision on funding by November. If the federal money is secured, construction would likely begin in 2020, with the line finished by 2022.

UTA says there would be 12 stops along the route, with service from the Ogden FrontRunner Station to WSU taking about 18 minutes. The service would run every 10 minutes during peak morning and evening commute times and every 15 minutes otherwise.

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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