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Letter: Improved rail transit would benefit everyone

Nov 30, 2022

Utah is growing, more people are going more places and it’s making our roads a mess. UDOT recently revealed their plans to widen I15 between Farmington and Salt Lake City, for an estimated price tag of 1.6 Billion Dollars. While this project would relieve congestion, it would also make a larger, more confusing road. I can’t speak for everyone, however I believe that having less traffic on the existing layout would be more ideal than having more traffic across more lanes. We should preserve neighborhoods, not pave them over to shave off a few minutes of travel time.

The idea of increasing frequency on Frontrunner by double tracking and even electrifying has been discussed extensively, and even allocated funding by the state legislature. Yet any time projects like a complete double tracking of Frontrunner, or the Rio Grande Plan are discussed, there is never enough money. Our state and local leaders greatly undervalue transit because they never use it. They understand the frustration of being stuck in traffic on I15, they do not understand the annoyance of being on a delayed train sitting in a station waiting for its turn on the single track. What they also fail to understand is that if rail transit were to be improved people would be more inclined to commute by train, thus freeing up space on the interstate.

There is growing support in Utah for rail transit improvements. Governor Cox has even expressed interest in statewide regional rail service. It is time for our elected officials to start making true on promises to improve transit, and as long as UDOT continues receiving funding for billion-dollar road projects, I don’t want to hear about how there isn’t money for Frontrunner. Let’s get rail transit the attention it deserves. After all, transit benefits everyone, not just those who ride it.

Nathan Strain



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