Utah has better ways to spend a billion dollars than making a big freeway bigger | News | Salt Lake City Weekly

Utah has better ways to spend a billion dollars than making a big freeway bigger 

Small Lake City

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The Utah Department of Transportation is moving ahead with its expansion plans for Interstate 15, which will widen the freeway by adding lanes between Salt Lake City and Farmington. This will cost billions of taxpayer dollars and jettison residents from their homes, while the observable phenomenon known as "Induced Demand" suggests that all we'll have bought with our time and money is worse traffic and pollution than before.

Here's just a few of the ways Utah could spend that money instead:
Finish the still-unfinished FrontRunner line between Provo and Ogden.
Extend the FrontRunner line to Payson and Brigham City.
Start a new FrontRunner line (LakeRunner?) between Tooele and Park City.
Build mixed-use, affordable housing and retail on the typically empty surface parking that surrounds FrontRunner stations (fun fact: you don't need to drive to the train if you already live close to the train).
Extend the Trax Blue Line to Point of the Mountain (UTA already owns this right of way, and it's spectacular. Our wise state planners prefer a lesser service on a lesser route).
Extend the Trax Red Line to Herriman/Riverton.
Extend the S-Line Streetcar to Sugar House Park.
Extend the S-Line Trail to Central Pointe Station.
Complete the Trax Green Line loop to give west-siders a direct connection to the airport.
Add a Trax stop on 1700 South.
Add an east-west Trax line on 1300 South.
Add a Trax line on 900 East.
Add a Trax line on 900 West.
Add a Trax line north into Davis County.
Add a Trax line literally anywhere outside Salt Lake County.
Run Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) on State Street.
Run BRT on 700 East.
Run BRT on Redwood Road.
Run BRT on Foothill Drive.
Install Lead Pedestrian Intervals (LPI) at our deadliest intersections (we know where they are).
Give trains proper signal prioritization so they aren't held up at red lights.
Push Union Pacific to let Salt Lake City finish the 9-Line Trail (costs very little to make a phone call).
Push Union Pacific to let Salt Lake City finish the Folsom Trail (100 phone calls costs the same as 1).
Build raised crossings everywhere the Jordan River Trail interacts with a surface street.
Bury Union Pacific's freight lines and Frontrunner in a train box and reactivate the historic Rio Grande Depot.
Go Free Fare Forever.
Build a gondola up Little Cottonwood Canyon. Sure, it's an outrageously expensive and comically shortsighted idea ... but it's still not as stupid as freeway expansion!

Small Lake City is home to local writers and their opinions.

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About The Author

Benjamin Wood

Benjamin Wood

Lifelong Utahn Benjamin Wood has worn the mantle of City Weekly's news editor since 2021. He studied journalism at Utah State University and previously wrote for The Salt Lake Tribune, the Deseret News and Entertainment Weekly

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