OGDEN — The final hurdle in a decade-and-a-half-long effort to establish a fixed-route transit connection between Ogden’s downtown and the southeastern edge of the city has been crossed.
On Friday, May 29, the U.S. Department of Transportation announced it would provide $891 million in federal funding for 12 transit infrastructure projects across the nation, among them, the Ogden Bus Rapid Transit project that will provide a 5.3-mile transit connection between downtown Ogden and the campuses of Weber State University and McKay-Dee Hospital.
In a press release, U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao said the round of public transit funding would “facilitate the ability of millions of Americans to access jobs and critical services.” Federal Transit Administration spokeswoman Angela Gates said the projects selected for funding went through a multi-year, multi-step process to even be considered for the funds.
The Ogden BRT project, which received $65 million in federal funds, has been discussed and studied in Weber County government circles for more than 15 years. According to Ogden City Council documents, an Ogden/WSU transit study commenced in November 2004. The first vision for the project called for a streetcar system, but that option was ultimately deemed too expensive.
Ogden Mayor Mike Caldwell has long pushed for the project and said the formal funding announcement was the first significant milestone in the project finally becoming a reality. He said he eagerly awaits the start of construction and the day the line goes into service.
“It’s been more than a decade in the making,” said Caldwell, who’s been mayor since 2012. “There were a lot of trips back and forth to Washington, D.C., a lot of meetings with our representatives — it’s just been a really heavy lift for everyone involved. It’s going to be a generational project for Ogden.”
The BRT service will originate at the Ogden 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. According to the UTA project brief, stations will be located at the transit center, The Junction, several other spots downtown, along 25th Street and Harrison Boulevard, Ogden High School, WSU, the Dee Events Center and the hospital.
UTA says buses will arrive at the stops every 10-15 minutes on weekdays and every 15-30 minutes on Saturday and Sunday.
Carl Arky, UTA spokesman, said the transit agency hopes to begin construction on the line by October. California-based Stacy and Witbeck Inc., a company that’s done large civil construction projects since 1981, will build the line. The service is scheduled to be running by August 2022.