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U.S. Tranportation secretary gives UTA some extra praise

While the Utah Transit Authority has received plenty of criticism lately for lavish executive pay and bonuses, extensive international travel and high fares, U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx gave it some extra praise Monday after helping to dedicate on Friday the completion of its "Frontlines 2015" projects.

He wrote in his blog that those $2.5 billion in new rail projects show "exactly the kind of thinking we need to see in communities across America."

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Those projects include the just-completed, 3.8 mile extension of the blue line TRAX to Draper, plus earlier TRAX extensions to West Valley City, South Jordan and the Salt Lake City International Airport, and a FrontRunner commuter rail extension betwåeen Salt Lake City and Provo.

Foxx blogged that those projects "have supported roughly 5,000 a jobs during construction. They’ve added 70 miles of rail — more than doubling the length of the TRAX light rail system."

He added, "They’ve improved access to jobs for hardworking men and women — and allowed commuters to spend less time struck in traffic on I-15 and more time with their families. They’ve helped reduce the burden of emissions that a growing population would add to the Salt Lake environment."

He said the projects create a "ladder of opportunity" by creating better access to jobs while better protecting the environment. "And today — thanks to the State of Utah, the County of Salt Lake, and the cities of Salt Lake, Sandy, and Draper — that ladder has a few new rungs."

He concluded, "This is how we build stronger communities. It’s how we build a stronger nation, and it’s how we move America forward."

— Lee Davidson

Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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