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2034 Olympics could boost local infrastructure improvements

City Government of Park City, Utah

Elected officials are evaluating how a potential future Olympics could expedite major transportation projects across Utah.

Utah Senate President Stuart Adams told KPCW he hopes to tap into federal dollars to complete infrastructure projects around the state ahead of a potential 2034 Winter Games.

“Right now one of the big issues for me is public transit,” Adams said. “We’re not going to build more freeways… I’ll look at gondolas. I’ll look at rail. I’ll look at bus rapid transit. I think we look at everything then try to make a decision as to what fits best.”

Gov. Spencer Cox has expressed interest in expanding passenger rail in Utah. The TRAX system in Salt Lake City got a major boost thanks to the 2002 Olympics.

Thursday the Park City Council’s study session focused on the future of state Route 248, one of the two main entryways into downtown.

The population around state Route 248 is growing at a rate of 7% annually, in part due to growth in Wasatch County, according to a staff presentation.

Councilmember and light rail advocate Bill Ciraco said any solution for state Route 248 should be aimed at reducing the number of vehicles in town.

“I think it goes to everyone’s quality of life, everyone that lives along those entry corridors,” Ciraco said. “It’s not really engine noise, so like electric vehicles aren’t going to change it much. It’s road noise, it’s wheels on road. If we think about getting people out of cars and into more dense forms of transportation, that helps keep the road more local, more rural.”

Councilmember Ed Parigian said he’s against any expansion of the road. Parigian said he’d like to increase park and ride options and bus service frequency.

“To me that’s the key to getting people on the bus,” Parigian said. “They don’t have a half-hour wait, or even a 20-minute wait. Maybe it needs to be 10 minutes.”

Along with other members of the council, Park City Mayor Nann Worel expressed interest in working with the school district to reduce daily congestion on state Route 248.

The council decided to pursue federal funding for future projects as they develop specific plans.