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Salt Lake City Seeks More Funding For Streetcar

Brian Grimmett

The Salt Lake City Council will seek federal funding to extend the Sugar House Streetcar eastward to Highland drive. The decision squeaked through as a divided council questioned the success of the existing rail-line. 

In a 4 to 3 decision, the council voted to set aside an additional $3 million to match an anticipated $10.6 million federal Transportation Investments Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant.  

This comes despite concerns that the “S” line is seeing one third of the ridership projected since it opened in December. Salt Lake City District 5 Councilor Erin Mendenhall says part of the poor ridership is lack of completion, poor hours and residential units along the line that remain unfilled. But she voted reluctantly for the resolution.

“It would be really unfortunate in my opinion for us to deny potential federal dollars that would amplify our $4.5 million contribution, $1.5 of which we’ve already named,” Mendenhall says. “It would be a shame for us to lose that opportunity and where we go from here is a discussion that as a new council body we can have.”

District 7 Councilor Lisa Adams voted against the resolution. She argued it makes more sense to hold off on the extension to see if ridership improves or if UTA increases hours of operation.

“I feel like the hours that they’re running have kind of automatically made it so it would fail,” Adams says. “And we are the ones who put all the money in this. I want to see them be a better partner with us.”

Salt Lake City is expected to find out whether it will be awarded the TIGER grant by the end of September.

The second phase of the “S” Line is slated to travel north from 2100 South along 1100 East to 1700 South. 

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