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Utah’s newest transit system breaks ground on $26M new home

Oct 3, 2022, 9:12 PM | Updated: Oct 4, 2022, 10:54 am

PARK CITY, Utah — Utah’s newest public transit system is about to finally have a home.

Sen. Mitt Romney and Rep. John Curtis were among those on hand to help High Valley Transit break ground on a new 61,277-square-foot facility that will house the transit organization’s administrative and operations offices.

The 8-acre site, located just off Old Highway 40, will also have enclosed bus parking for 24 full-size transit buses and covered parking for smaller transit vehicles. The facilities will also feature a four-bay maintenance shop, storage areas, vehicle lifts, an automatic wash bay, a fuel dispensing station and a facility generator.

“These three buildings will be key to our operations and being able to expand throughout the Wasatch Back,” said Kim Carson, chairwoman of the High Valley Transit board of trustees.

High Valley Transit began its fare-free service in May 2021 and now offers microtransit and regular fixed-route bus services in Summit County, especially routes that Park City Transit doesn’t reach in the region. The county launched the service in an effort to reduce traffic congestion, improve access to jobs, reduce parking demand, increase tourism and minimize environmental impact.

The microtransit service resulted in 152,266 completed rides totaling 677,802 miles in its first year, the agency reported in May. Carson says the numbers continue to grow.

“Our community … those that live here and those that come and visit and those to come to work, have all adopted (it),” she said.

However, High Valley Transit has used a temporary structure since the service launched last year. The $26 million cost of the project is covered through bonds and state transportation money, according to officials. Salt Lake City-based Big-D Construction was hired to build the new facility.

The project is expected to be completed in the spring of 2024, according to Big-D Construction officials. The new facility aims to not only give the agency a home but also the ability to expand services in the region.

Monday’s event also follows a large $25 million grant that High Valley Transit received from the U.S. Department of Transportation in August. Those funds will go toward the completion of the State Route 224 Battery Electric Bus and BRT Project between Kimball Junction and Park City in Summit County.

The money allotted to the project came from the Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity program, a component of the bipartisan infrastructure bill that President Joe Biden signed last year. Both Romney and Curtis helped the county obtain federal money for the project.

It’s a project that could help alleviate traffic that has grown in recent years, especially on big ski days, throughout the duration of the Sundance Film Festival and during popular summer events.

“This, I think, will change that,” Curtis said Monday, “and make the whole experience much better for guests that come up in this area — and for residents who don’t have to fight with all of those cars.”

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Utah’s newest transit system breaks ground on $26M new home