Utah breaks ground on TIGER-fueled Sugar House Streetcar

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When we designed our TIGER program here at DOT, we wanted a competitive grant process that rewarded communities for coming together to solve problems. Towns, cities, counties, regions--they know what they need to help get people from place to place and boost economic development, and we wanted to hear their ideas.

Salt Lake City, South Salt Lake City, and the Utah Transit Authority put together a strong partnership and submitted an innovative idea that made the most of the community's resources and strengths: the Sugar House Streetcar. And yesterday, I had the great pleasure of helping that community celebrate a very festive groundbreaking for the new line.

It was a great pleasure because I was fortunate enough to visit Salt Lake City when we first announced our TIGER II grants in October 2010, and I saw how excited the community was about this terrific project.

And for very good reason.

When completed, the Sugar House Streetcar will connect one of the region's thriving commercial centers--the Sugar House District--with its excellent TRAX light rail network. When the regional plan is complete, the streetcar will have direct connections with more than 130 miles of regional rail transit. At its seven planned stops, the line will also feature bus, pedestrian, and bicycle connections.

And throughout the two-mile corridor, the new streetcar will attract new, mixed-use development on vacant and underutilized land in the rapidly growing region.

That's what we mean when we say, "If you build it they will come." Yes, riders will populate the new service as a way of avoiding congestion--planners anticipate more than 3,000 a day when the line opens in 2014 and more than 4,000 a day by 2030. But it also means that new businesses will open along the corridor, and new residents will live in the 4,000 new households built by the $1.2 billion in private, transit-oriented development expected during the next 20 years... Continue reading.