In an article, "Plans for Valley Transit Uncertain," the Salt Lake City
Tribune noted, "The vision for a vastly expanded transit network along the
Wasatch Front may be breaking down. A little more than three months from
Election Day, no one seems to know whether Salt Lake County voters will be
asked to approve a transit-tax hike to fund commuter rail and expanded
light-rail and bus systems. And a snag in the law that enables local-option
taxes for transit has some mayors iffy about the proposition." Read the
27 June 2000
Street work for the East/West TRAX line started June 21. Even though
Federal Funding is not guaranteed, the decision was made to go ahead, to ensure
the line is completed before the start of the 2002 Winter Games. The line will
add 4 stops and 2.2 miles to the already successful TRAX light rail system.
Salt Lake mayor Rocky Anderson continues to push to have the new
Intermodal Depot at the Rio Grande station. This would entail either using
shuttle busses or a people mover to transport passengers back and forth to the
rail platforms. All rail access to the Rio Grande depot was removed to make way
for new on and off ramps to Interstate 15.
Amtrak is developing a seperate MBNA for the proposed revival of the
Pioneer. To start off with the route will only run from Boise to Portland but
would get the ball rolling. Amtrak did not release the MBNA findings on June 9
when schedule but will reveal them this week. Boise, which has never been a
vocal supporter of Amtrak service in the past seems to be pushing hard for the
new service. Boise is doing a major upgrade to their airport because they are
so 'isolated' from the rest of the country. It looks like they are starting to
realize that good rail service is an essential part of the puzzle.
Tim Eyman the sponsor of I-695 in Washington State is trying to get
his new one I-745 on the budget. If approved this would require 90% of ALL
TRANSORTATION funds to be directed at highways. Only 10% would be left over for
transit, rail, and all other transportation related budgets. There was to be a
radio debate between Eyman and a representative of WashARP, but Eyman has
backed out for the time being, although he says he still wants to do it.
Washington state is purchasing state-of-the-art refrigerated cars to
haul behind the Empire Builder and the revived Pioneer.
UP donated 14.5 miles of the Boise cutoff to the city of Boise, and
is requiring the city to purchase the remaining 3.5 miles to keep intact the
Boise Cutoff which was the route of the Pioneer before its death in 1997.
It looks like it will be another year or more before any service
between Los Angeles and Las Vegas will start. Enviormentalist want an impact
statemtent done before any double tracking is done over Cima Hill which is a
requirement before UP will allow Amtrak to start the service. Isn't it
interesting that Amtrak can find $29 million for this track upgrade for a train
in a market that has failed before (City of Las Vegas, Las Vegas Fun Train),
but it cannot find the money to get service back to Phoenix. Which would be the
better investment in the long run? The best thing at this time for the Vegas
market is a through train to the east, where much of the Desert Wind's revenue