Its no secret that the Utah Transit Authority is working hard to improve transit infrastructure across the Wasatch Front. Now they’re getting national recognition from US News & World Report, ranked #2 in the US for “Best Cities for Public Transportation” based on safety, ridership, and spending. From the report:
“Salt Lake City earns its No. 2 spot in large part because of its heavy investment in serving a large suburban and exurban population. It is the No. 1 city in the nation in terms of public transit spending per capita, one reason being the current expansion of the Utah Transit Authority’s light rail system, known as TRAX. The city is adding four new lines to the three-line system, allowing better suburban access to the city; though the city’s population is just over 180,000, the system serves 1.7 million people in the larger area. Those residents take great advantage of the system; despite ranking No. 43 in terms of population, the city was No. 18 in terms of passenger miles traveled in 2008.”
With several new transit lines opening this year and next, connecting the existing (and wildly successful) rail system to West Jordan, West Valley, Sugar House, and Utah County, the Wasatch Front is becoming more and more transit-friendly. Not so long ago, Salt Lake City was connected with more than 100 miles of streetcar service, and also inter-city rail to Ogden and Provo. As population numbers and densities continue to increase, transit will become more and more important to the continued livability of the Wasatch Front. While detractors continue to mourn the “misuse” of funds to “subsidize” transit, the fact is this type of investment by UTA and state and federal agencies is spurring private development investment all along the ever-expanding transit system, from Ogden to Provo.