USA: Citing the world economic crisis, Utah Transit Authority is to postpone the opening of its FrontRunner South commuter rail extension from Salt Lake City to Provo from mid-2012 to early 2013.
UTA will accelerate construction of two TRAX light rail lines; the Salt Lake City International Airport extension will open in 2013, a year early, and the Draper route should be ready in early 2012, two years ahead of schedule.
According to UTA General Manager John Inglish, the light rail lines have much lower operating costs. Inglish told a UTA budget committee meeting on October 8 that estimated sales tax revenues will grow just 1·5% next year, down from the projected 4·5%. That translates to $73m less income for operations between 2009 and 2015. Inglish said construction of the FrontRunner line will probably be completed on schedule but the trains would not start running until there was enough money to fund the operating budget. The delay could be reversed if the economy picked up.
A limited commuter rail service to Pleasant View began on September 29 following a ceremonial opening on September 27. This adds 8 km to the line from Salt Lake City, which opened as far as Ogden last April.