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How Utah Turned Its Unpopular Public Transit System Into a Hit

The state doubled its light rail line in just 7 years, with the broad support of users and non-users alike.
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It wasn't always the case that Utah was in a hurry to build public transit. In 1992, voters rejected a tax measure that would have funded a light rail line in Salt Lake Valley. In 1997, at the groundbreaking for what would become the successful TRAX system, protestors held up signs that read: "Light Rail Kills Children." Not exactly a warm welcome.

Today, however, TRAX and transit are such integral parts of the Salt Lake metro that it's hard to imagine life without them. In 2006, voters easily approved a quarter-cent sales tax hike (64-36) so that the expansion (dubbed FrontLines 2015) could finish up by 2015 instead of 2030. And that $2.5 billion, five track project was completed this August — a full two years early.