As we know, Utah is experiencing significant population and economic growth. While some of this growth is a result of people and families moving into the state, the overwhelming majority (approximately 66 percent) is our own children and grandchildren. To give you an example of the magnitude of this growth, we are adding a city the size of Logan (54,000 people) each year.
Draper City and the entire Wasatch Front region are experiencing strong economic and population growth. According to the Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute at the University of Utah, the state will double in population to approximately 5,878,000 people by 2065.
This growth comes with both opportunities and challenges. As we prepare for the state prison to move, we are working corroboratively with our partners and neighboring cities to plan for this once-in-a-generation event that has long-lasting impacts not only for us, but also for our children.
Like other fast-growing cities in our region, Draper City understands that investing in our transportation system is essential for maintaining and enhancing our residents’ quality of life. Investments in roads, rail, buses, and trails are a top priority because they provide transportation choices that make it easier to get around.
The Point of the Mountain Development Commission, an entity created by the Legislature in 2016, has worked closely for several years with Utah’s transportation agencies to conduct an extensive technical analysis to identify needed transportation investments in the area. This work has been done in conjunction with robust community engagement to ensure we have had a voice in the process.
Through this process, a transit Alternatives Analysis (AA) for extending the TRAX Blue Line has been identified as a critical next step. An AA is an in-depth study of future potential modes (e.g. Bus, Rapid Transit or Light Rail) and alignments that might be needed to extend the line through Draper City into Lehi City. A transit connection over Point of the Mountain will help to reduce traffic congestion in the most heavily traveled corridor in the state on Interstate 15, connect high-tech job centers, improve air quality, and enhance our quality of life.
Acknowledging that additional transportation investments would be needed as the county grows, Salt Lake County developed a rigorous technical prioritization process for determining how best to allocate funds from the recent local sales tax increase dedicated to funding transportation projects.
Draper City applied for funding through Salt Lake County’s highly competitive process and received $400,000. The City is working with the Utah Transit Authority (UTA) as the lead agency on the project given their relevant technical expertise for conducting the analysis.
The entire analysis is anticipated to cost approximately $800,000 and is being funded through a collaborative effort among UTA, the Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT), the Wasatch Front Regional Council (WFRC), and the Mountainland Association of Governments (MAG). South Jordan City and Sandy City are also participating in the process. City and county staff are working together on drafting an interlocal agreement for the use of the funding. It is anticipated that the interlocal agreement will be considered by the city council in May.
Funding transportation projects requires a truly collaborative effort. We appreciate Salt Lake County and Utah’s transportation agencies for their willingness to invest in our community as a well-functioning transportation system will be essential to address our growth challenges moving forward.
We will update you on the analysis as it progresses, and we encourage you to provide input so that we can ensure the best outcomes for our community.
Mayor Troy K. Walker