OGDEN — The prospect of Business Depot Ogden FrontRunner station has surfaced again — and this time a good chunk of change could be put toward the project.
The Weber Area Council of Government’s list of transportation funding priorities includes a recommendation to use $3 million in county funds to preserve a corridor for a Utah Transit Authority FrontRunner hub at the BDO, near 12th Street.
Ogden City Council member Rich Hyer chairs WACOG’s transportation committee and said the money would be used to acquire some land in the area that would be needed for the station.
Ogden Mayor Mike Caldwell said the city would love to see a FrontRunner stop at the BDO and preserving corridor is one of the initial steps in doing so. But the project is still likely years from being shovel-ready.
A $32 million project to build the station on BDO grounds just east of Stewart Drive is listed on the Wasatch Front Regional Council’s Transportation Improvement Program (TIP). The project also calls for the installation of a new, dedicated track to the station from the Ogden Intermodal Transit Center.
The plan calls for a local funding match of $16 million, which would likely come from a variety of state, county and city sources. The remaining $16 million for the project would be sought from the Federal Transit Administration.
The project has been discussed in Weber County, Ogden City and state government circles for years and local officials have long touted the BDO as an ideal FrontRunner stop.
The 1,118-acre business park has more than 6,000 employees and more than 125 businesses, including the Standard-Examiner. The park also has more than 200 acres of land that can still be developed. By the time the facility is built out (which could take at least 15 years), the employee population will exceed 10,000.
Earlier this year UTA released a study, titled “The Future of FrontRunner,” which examined the feasibility of future FrontRunner system expansions. The BDO station is among five proposed stations to be built between now and 2050 and is listed as a “high investment” scenario, though little else is revealed about possible construction timelines.
The BDO station is tied to a planned northward expansion of FrontRunner all the way into Box Elder County. But UTA faces a pretty significant roadblock in that endeavor because the agency doesn’t own right-of-way for the train north of its Ogden stop near 23rd Street.
UTA had used Union Pacific’s rail line to shuttle passengers between Ogden and Pleasant View until that route was cut earlier this year. UTA cited low ridership numbers, which were caused by lack of an independent, dedicated travel corridor. UTA eventually wants to acquire right-of-way north of Ogden so it can operate the commuter train on its own track.