Transit options in Utah are pretty great in the Salt Lake Valley (Provo to Ogden) thanks to our wonderful Utah Transit Authority, but what if one wants to travel elsewhere in the state? Mike Christensen, MCMP, CNU-A, AICP proposes Link Utah, a plan to run state-sponsored Amtrak (a mode of operation which we explain) up, down, and across the whole state. It's a cost-effective way to change the transportation game for Utah and fill in serious inter-transit-agency gaps, completing mobility for residents and tourists alike.
Links and stuffs
Mike Christensen's Link Utah report
- 00:00 Intro: special guest Mike Christensen
- 00:30 Theme song
- 01:01 The Utah Rail Passengers Association & Link Utah
- 02:04 State-sponsored Amtrak model
- 02:24 The 3am California Zephyr
- 03:19 Intercity bus options in Utah: Salt Lake Express, Greyhound, etc.
- 04:05 Lack of offboard infrastructure
- 05:20 State-sponsored Amtrak would include proper stations (heated shelters, restrooms, convenience stores)
- 05:49 Amtrak vs. FrontRunner to Logan & siloed transit districts
- 08:10 FrontRunner construction is difficult, but we should have it eventually
- 08:47 Technical challenges (a.k.a. mountains)
- 09:27 Shortcut on the Union Pacific route
- 11:10 Population, growth, and demand
- 11:55 Comparison to the Chicago, Illinois metro area
- 13:33 Ridership patterns & tourism
- 14:40 St. George lacks rail; there would initially be a bus connection
- 15:58 Modeshift, industry, and cost: delivering by freight train
- 16:53 Moab & Grand Junction, Colorado
- 17:39 Tourism, national parks, and whole-system integration: filling in statewide transportation gaps
- 20:10 Funding (why does UDOT get so much of the money for roads?)
- 20:44 Shiny high-speed rail doesn't make sense in Utah
- 24:07 How does state-sponsored Amtrak work? (proposal with capital, operations and maintenance costs)
- 25:19 Track, siding, & switch upgrades
- 26:00 Jointed rail to be replaced with continuous welded rail
- 26:35 Positive train control
- 27:07 79 MPH and beyond
- 28:09 Connecting bus service & Colorado (CDOT)
- 30:10 "Bustang" is the name of CDOT's intercity bus service; subsidized 100%
- 31:33 Restoring the Amtrak Pioneer for long-distance
- 33:38 State-sponsored, shorter routes in the Northwest
- 34:09 What can we do to make Link Utah a reality?
- 35:07 The nonprofit Utah Rail Passengers Association
- 35:32 Looking for larger (corporate?) sponsors
- 36:21 Working on an interim committee with the state legislature
- 37:03 Gotta have a plan to get infrastructure money
- 37:44 Thanks Mike!
- 38:28 Smash that like button!
- 38:44 Know anybody with deep pockets? Point them to the Utah RPA!
References & notes
- Mike Christensen and his Link Utah report: "An Intrastate Passenger Rail System for Utah Operated by Amtrak Using Existing Union Pacific Tracks"