With the massive growth in Vineyard, the need for forward movement on the construction of the FrontRunner station prompted Mayor Julie Fullmer to call for a special meeting of the city council the Tuesday before Thanksgiving.

The focus of the meeting was to approve a construction easement for the Utah Department of Transportation to keep on the current timeline for the Vineyard FrontRunner station and the Northern Utah County double tracking project, according to Fullmer.

The city council unanimously approved the construction easement.

Fullmer has been working long hours with the Utah Department of Transportation and Utah Transit Authority as the city moves toward having an inter-modal hub for FrontRunner, buses and connections to other transit options in the future.

“The city has invested several millions in infrastructure for the station and easement for double tracking,” Fullmer said. “Additionally, $4 million in state funding has been appropriated for the station to UDOT who is over-construction of the projects, and UTA appropriated $19 million for the necessary double-track section approximately two miles north of the station to improve regional mobility.”

This is the first section of double track installed since the FrontRunner systems’ opening, according to UTA.

“Vineyard, UTA, UDOT and other entities and jurisdictions across the Wasatch Front are working together to plan future service improvements to FrontRunner, as well as other means of public transit,” Fullmer said. “This combined effort has spurred momentum toward additional double track in other areas of the service system to decrease travel time and increase reliability.”

FrontRunner is the backbone of public transit across the Wasatch Front. Bus Rapid Transit, all other bus services, light rail and micro-transit all radiate from FrontRunner service. Enhancing FrontRunner for Utah’s future population is a statewide priority, according to UTA.

Double-tracking and electrification are vital to increasing the frequency of all FrontRunner service in the future; double-tracking added in coordination with the Vineyard Station is an example of the way forward for FrontRunner, Fullmer added.

Utah’s population is forecast to grow from 3 million in 2015 to 5.8 million in 2065, according to the Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute. Utah County is projected to grow 177% from 2015 to reach a population of 1.6 million by 2065-nearly the size of Salt Lake County’s forecast 2065 population.

Over the next 50 years, 37% of Utah’s population growth will be in Utah County. By 2065, 28% of the state’s population will reside in Utah County, according to the Gardner Institute projections.

“Our fast-growing community recognizes that quality of life is key to the future growth that is coming into the region,” Fullmer said. “Vineyard is now nearing 18,000 people, and the Vineyard FrontRunner station plays a critical role in the city’s success.”

The new Vineyard Station is an exciting, important development in the history of FrontRunner. UTA is celebrating their 50th anniversary, and the addition of this station is a large milestone in frontrunners future, Fullmer noted.

“This is the first new FrontRunner Station since 2012,” Fullmer said. “Adding this station underscores the significance of Vineyard City’s growth and prominence as a transit center.”

Vineyard’s FrontRunner station is an inter-modal hub located in the heart of their downtown and in a transportation nexus for the region.

“Transit-Oriented Development is a priority for our economic growth and quality of life in the region,” Fullmer said. “Many hands have come together as public and private partners to create a mixed-used TOD that is walkable, bikable, integrated with recreation and open-space, connected through small city blocks and trails, and prioritizes sustainable, healthy, uplifting, communities for businesses and residents. This station and double tracking has regional significance.”

With this new station, FrontRunner has even greater capability to connect students, commuters, recreation seekers, remote family members and anyone wishing to travel across the beautiful Wasatch Front, according to a UTA statement.

UTA serves more than 80% of Utah’s population, this station will enhance that service. Vineyard City is a valued partner of UTA, along with every other city within UTA’s service area. UTA’s objective is to move people where they need to go across the Wasatch Front.

The organization does this most effectively through interacting with each community and learning about their needs and concerns, the UTA statement continued.

Vineyard City’s incredible growth, along with its situation near the center of transportation and transit in Utah County, makes this station a necessity and a major development in the future of FrontRunner, the UTA statement concluded.

Vineyard’s other partner, UDOT, said it is proud to partner with Vineyard City and UTA to build this new station.

Throughout construction, the safety of the community has been one of the top priorities alongside maintaining access for businesses and residents. Both UTA and UDOT say they appreciate the support and cooperation of the community throughout the construction process.

With a goal of “Keeping Utah Moving,” UDOT’s statement said the organization is committed to finding transportation solutions that support our quality of life by providing better mobility, promoting health and a strong economy, and connecting communities.

Daily Herald reporter Genelle Pugmire can be contacted at gpugmire@heraldextra.com, (801) 344-2910, Twitter

@gpugmire

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