The Utah Transit Authority last week received $428.3 million from the Federal Transit Administration for the addition of a light-rail line that will serve the West Jordan suburbs of Salt Lake City.
The grant agreement represents 80% of the project’s cost, with the UTA covering the rest through bonds backed by sales taxes.
The light-rail system known as Trax began with a single line in 1999 after overcoming voter opposition in the first transit election. Transit officials announced the federal funding agreement Friday at the site of a future Trax station, where construction of apartments and other projects spurred by the rail line is already underway.
Development of the line is part of a $2.5 billion plan to build 70 miles of new rails by 2015, including the other Trax lines and a diesel-powered FrontRunner commuter-rail extension from Salt Lake City to Provo.
In March the UTA issued a record $700 million of sales tax revenue bonds. In June 2007, the authority sold $261 million of revenue bonds — the largest issue in its history at the time — to provide local funding for the northern FrontRunner.
The bonds carry are rated AAA by Standard & Poor’s, AA by Fitch Ratings, and Aa3 by Moody’s Investors Service.