Officials from the region’s planning arm, the Wasatch Front Regional Council (WFRC), have long touted the need for a region-wide buy-in on the smart growth practices that will help Salt Lake, Davis, Weber, Box Elder and Toole Counties absorb over 1 million more residents by 2050.
For the fifth consecutive year, WFRC and its partners will provide grants to area communities to working to move the region toward greater mobility, smarter development patterns and stronger economic development. This year the group has awarded $1.2 million in grants to fund projects in 17 Wasatch Front communities.
The funding is provided through the Transportation and Land Use Connection (TLC) program in partnership with Salt Lake County, UDOT and UTA, and will be used to advance community plans for transportation infrastructure of all modes, economic development planning, transportation analysis and general land use and community planning.
“This process is a great example of how we get things done in our region,” said Ogden City Mayor and WFRC Chair Mike Caldwell said in a statement. “We come together to think regionally about how we want to live and what opportunities we want in the future through the Wasatch Choice 2050 process. These TLC funds then provide needed resources today for individual communities to plan for that future toward which we all are striving.”
In January, WFRC unveiled the draft Wasatch Choice 2050 Vision, a blueprint intended to guide local officials on planning for growth that supports an efficient and inclusive economy, improves air quality and enhances the region’s overall quality of life.
“The TLC program helps with critical funding to build community centers, maintain open spaces, and create diverse transportation networks that fit the needs of our growing metro area,” said Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams in a statement. “Planning ahead and working collaboratively is the best way to ensure what we want for the future.”
The TLC program mission is to support local governments in implementing the Wasatch Choice Vision. Program goals are as follows:
- Maximize the value of investment in public infrastructure,
- Enhance access to opportunity,
- Increase travel options and optimize mobility
- Create communities with opportunities to live, work and play.
The projects receiving funds this year mostly focus on transportation or small plan areas. Projects include $100,000 for Salt Lake City transportation staff to explore street typology to support area master plans and encourage economic development; $75,000 for West Valley City officials to develop an active transportation plan to better connect bicycle and pedestrian routes; and $90,000 for South and West Jordan Cities to co-create an Active Transportation Implementation Plan.
Past projects funded through the TLC program include the Life on State Implementation Plan, that looks to redesign State Street from North Temple to South Salt Lake City, and the Foothill Drive Implementation Strategy, a recently completed plan intended to make the corridor more efficient and accommodating to pedestrians, cyclists and public transit.
For more information about the TLC program, visit http://wfrc.org/programs/transportation-land-use-connection. You can see a map of the projects here.