U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood today joined local officials to break ground on a two-mile streetcar line that will connect South Salt Lake City to the city's Sugar House Business District, providing new and better transportation choices and economic revitalization to an area where growth had been stalled by the recession.
"When President Obama talks about an "all-of-the-above' energy strategy, he is talking about projects like the Sugar House Streetcar that provide reliable transportation and help Americans deal with changing gas and oil prices," said Secretary LaHood. "Smart transportation investments like this give people relief from high prices at the pump and serve as engines for job creation and economic development."
In addition to making one of Salt Lake City's most historic neighborhoods more walkable, the Sugar House Streetcar will also provide residents of South Salt Lake City with a direct connection to the North-South TRAX line at the Central Pointe Station, allowing them access to 130 miles of passenger rail across the Wasatch Front.
According to the Utah Transit Authority the Sugar House Streetcar project is expected to create an estimated 700 construction-related jobs in the near term, and add more than 7,500 new permanent jobs to the local economy by 2030. The project is also expected to generate over $1 billion in new business development along the line. The $37.2 million construction cost is being funded by a $26 million federal TIGER (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery) II grant and $11.2 million in local funds provided by the cities of Salt Lake City and South Salt Lake City and the Utah Transit Authority.
"This is a smart investment that will make a real difference in the lives of Salt Lake City area residents," Federal Transit Administrator Peter Rogoff said. "Over the next twenty years, this federal investment in the Sugar House Streetcar project is anticipated to save more than one million gallons of fuel and reduce carbon emissions by 26,000 tons. That's a win-win situation for area residents and for our energy future."
The streetcar is expected to open in late 2013.