FARMINGTON – Davis County Commissioners and the Utah Transit Authority signed a South Davis Transit Study agreement on Tuesday that will look at the possibility of providing light rail, trolleys, buses or other transit operations in the area.
The county will provide $7,500 in funding, along with $7,500 from Wasatch Front Regional Council, $15,000 from North Salt Lake City and $30,000 from Salt Lake City.
The $60,000 will be matched by $360,000 in non-federal funds, said Kent Sulser, Davis County director of community and economic development.
The study is to determine what kind of mass transit options should be developed in the area, whether it be fixed or guided rail or bus rapid transit, he said.
The city of Bountiful is notable in its absence from funding participation in the study.
Bountiful Mayor Joe Johnson told the Clipper Tuesday night that previous efforts at a study some years ago were not supported by neighboring cities*, particularly the Centerville City Council. The Bountiful City Council supported it at the time.
This time around, Bountiful leaders withheld their support.
“There was no money for it, anyway,” he said. Some $15,000 was going to be asked in city support but Davis County and Wasatch Front contributed that amount.
The study will be completed in 2013 and hopefully will enable federal funding to be accessed Р although no time line for when that might happen is known, Sulser said.
“Projects like this don’t happen overnight,” County Commission Chair Bret Millburn said. “It may be quite a number of years before we get funding.”
“Davis County considers this a significant transportation need,” Sulser said of mass transit for South Davis.
He said the county “feels the public interest needs to continue to be served to facilitate a transportation system in and around that area.”
Although FrontRunner services the area with a Woods Cross station, many commuters don’t use it. Particularly if they live on the east bench or are far from that or the Farmington station, they likely can drive to Salt Lake City faster than they could get there by taking the train, he said, referring to his own situation as a Bountiful resident.
“I think the report will really provide us a solid framework from which we could consider a workable solution in that corridor,” Sulser said.
The study several years ago brought a lot of negative uproar, particularly from Centerville residents who worried a streetcar would impede commerce and traffic flow in that city. Similar concerns were raised in Bountiful about routes proposed there.
As of now, Centerville and Farmington are not specifically included in the study area, Sulser said.
“I don’t know if the study will go that far. It will probably stop at Bountiful,” he said.
“It’s phenomenal how transit has grown along the Wasatch Front,” Millburn said. “We consider mass transit a great economic development and lifestyle opportunity.”
Clipper Editor Rebecca Palmer contributed to this article.
*This article has been amended to accurately reflect the positions of the Bountiful City Council.