Utah’s strategic geographic location in the heart of the American West propels its continuing functional role as “The Crossroads of the West.”
Whether by road, rail or air, the state is optimally placed as a hub for distribution. Its capital, Salt Lake City, is essentially equidistant from all major Western U.S. markets, including Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco and Seattle. Businesses, residents and visitors all benefit from highly efficient systems for moving people and goods that are part of Utah’s comprehensive transportation infrastructure.
Utah’s comprehensive transportation system includes a top-performing international airport; a centrally-located highway system built around major east-west (I-80, I-70) and north-south (I-15) interstate arteries; two major railroads; and steadily expanding light rail and commuter rail systems. For international freight and traffic, Salt Lake City is a full-service customs port city, and there are additional highway ports of entry throughout the state.
- Utah is a central, highly cost-effective distribution point for the Western U.S.
- Salt Lake City ranked first in the most recent Forbes study of the Best and Worst Cities for Commuters.
- Utah is a one-day truck drive or less from almost every major city in the Western U.S.
- Salt Lake International Airport is a consistent national leader in on-time performance, and ranked first in 2011.
- Salt Lake International has more than 626 scheduled daily departures with non-stop service to 9 -plus different cities.
- Main rail lines link Utah directly to the major seaports of Los Angeles, Oakland, Portland and Seattle.
In keeping with Utah’s tradition of forward-thinking and planning, transportation is mapped out into 30-year plans, accounting for projected demographic changes, funding and technological needs and advances. This forward-looking approach has established Utah as a national leader in transportation. Salt Lake City was named as the best U.S. city for commuters in the most recent Forbes Best and Worst Cities for Commuters 2010. For the Utah Transit Authority’s long-range plan, visit www.rideuta.com/mc/?page=Projects-LongRangePlan. For information about the 30-year transportation plan for the Wasatch Front Regional County (comprising Salt Lake County and surrounding counties), visit slchamber.com. For information about the Mountainland Association of Governments transportation plan, visit www.mountainland.org.
The Salt Lake International Airport (SLC), located approximately five miles northwest of downtown Salt Lake City, is located within a 2.5-hour flight of more than half the population in the U.S. In 2011, SLC was the 26th-busiest airport in the U.S., serving approximately 20 million passengers. In 2011, there were 357,996 takeoffs and landings at Salt Lake International. SLC offers non-stop flights to more than 90 cities and has more than 626 scheduled flights daily. Salt Lake International is served by seven airlines and their affiliates: American, Delta, Frontier, JetBlue, Southwest, United/Continenta and US Airways.
SLC consistently ranks among the best airports in the nation for on-time performance. In 2011, according to FlightStats.com, the airport led the nation in on-time departures, with 86.55 percent, compared with a national rate of 76.67 percent. The airport has recently enhanced its international offerings, with new direct flights to Canada, Mexico, France and Japan. U.S. Customs offers “on demand” cargo and charter flight inspection. SLC is Delta’s secondlargest hub, and the largest in the Western U.S.
SLC ranks consistently in the top 10 in the nation in Condé Nast Traveler magazine’s Business Travel Awards. The annual survey reports business travelers’ impressions of their experience with location/access, customs/baggage, food/shops/amenities and safety/security. The airport has also received numerous international awards for excellence in snow removal. The Salt Lake City International Airport was the first airport to receive accreditation as an Emergency Medical Dispatch Center of Excellence by the International Academies of Emergency Dispatch (IAED).
In 2008, SLC retired nearly $50 million in auction rate bonds, making it the only debt-free large hub airport in the nation. In contrast to many other metropolitan airports, Salt Lake City International has acquired substantial property for the future expansion of services, terminals and runways, in order to ensure the future quality of air service, avoiding the delays, congestion and overcrowding that characterize many airports. SLC’s innovative language translation service, Language Line, provides real-time translation of 250 languages, and free wireless Internet access is available throughout the airport.
For more information about Salt Lake International Airport, visit www.slcairport.com.
In addition to SLC, there are plentiful air-travel options located throughout the state for business travelers and vacationers. Global Aviation Navigator lists 141 public and private airports and 51 heliports in Utah, while AirNav. com lists 50 public-use airports throughout the state. For listings of Utah airports visit www.airnav.com/airports/state/UT.html, or www.onlineutah.com/airports.shtml.
- Beaver: Beaver Municipal Airport (U52)
- Blanding: Blanding Municipal Airport (KBDG)
- Bluff: Bluff Airport (66V)
- Bountiful: Skypark Airport (KBTF)
- Brigham City: Brigham City Airport (KBMC)
- Bryce Canyon: Bryce Canyon Airport (KBCE)
- Cedar City: Cedar City Regional Airport (KCDC)
- Delta: Delta Municipal Airport (KDTA)
- Duchesne: Duchesne Municipal Airport (U69)
- Dutch John: Dutch John Airport (33U)
- Eagle Mountain: Jake Garn Airport (17U)
- Escalante: Escalante Municipal Airport (1L7)
- Fillmore Fillmore Municipal Airport (KFOM)
- Glen Canyon National Recreation Area: Bullfrog Basin Airport (U07)
- Green River: Green River Municipal Airport (U34)
- Halls Crossing: Cal Black Memorial Airport (U96)
- Hanksville: Hanskville Airport (KHVE)
- Heber: Heber City Municipal Airport-Russ McDonald Field (36U)
- Huntington: Huntington Municipal Airport (69V)
- Hurricane: General Dick Stout Field Airport (1L8)
- Junction: Junction Airport (U13)
- Kanab: Kanab Municipal Airport (KKNB)
- Loa: Wayne Wonderland Airport (38U)
- Logan: Logan-Cache Airport (KLGU)
- Manila: Manila Airport (40U)
- Manti: Manti-Ephraim Airport (41U)
- Milford: Milford Municipal/Ben and Judy Briscoe Field Airport (KMLF)
- Moab: Canyonlands Field Airport (KCNY)
- Monticello: Monticello Airport (U43)
- Morgan: Morgan County Airport (42U)
- Mount Pleasant: Mount Pleasant Airport (43U)
- Nephi: Nephi Municipal Airport (U14)
- Ogden: Ogden-Hinckley Airport (KOGD)
- Panguitch: Panguitch Municipal Airport (U55)
- Parowan: Parowan Airport (1L9)
- Price: Carbon County Regional Airport/Buck Davis Field (KPUC)
- Provo: Provo Municipal Airport (KPVU)
- Richfield: Richfield Municipal Airport (KRIF)
- Roosevelt: Roosevelt Municipal Airport (74V)
- Salina: Salina-Gunnison Airport (44U)
- Salt Lake City: Salt Lake City International Airport (KSLC)
- Salt Lake City: Salt Lake City Municipal 2 Airport (U42)
- Spanish Fork: Spanish Fork-Springville Airport (U77)
- St George: St George Municipal Airport (KSGU)
- Tooele: Bolinder Field-Tooele Valley Airport (KTVY)
- Vernal: Vernal Regional Airport (KVEL)
- Wendover: Wendover Airport (KENV)
Utah continues to benefit from the expansion and improvement of its strategically centered road and highway system. The Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT) is expanding and upgrading the I-15 corridor in Salt Lake County and addressing key areas of Utah County and Davis County in order to further improve traffic flow in the most heavily trafficked areas. Utah’s road transportation system includes more than 93,914 miles of federal, state and local highways and roads, according to the Federal Highway Administration. Approximately 300 highway projects are currently under construction in Utah.
The state’s interstate highways provide efficient access to population and economic centers in neighboring states, while the in-state highways offer effective connections between cities and the state’s many recreation areas. Utah’s two most heavily-travelled highways are I-15, which runs north into Idaho and south into western Arizona, southern Nevada and southern California, passing through or close by most of Utah’s largest population centers; and I-80, a coast-to-coast freeway that runs west into Nevada and into the San Francisco Bay Area, and east through Wyoming and on to New York.
Other significant interstate highways include I-70, an east-west freeway that begins in the central part of Utah and runs into Colorado and on to Maryland; and I-84, which originates in north-central Utah and runs west through Idaho and the leading population centers in the Pacific Northwest. These interstate highways are essential to the efficient transportation of goods and materials throughout Utah and to locations outside the state. I-215, the Salt Lake County belt route is a major link for intrastate traffic in the metro area. Highway 89 is a key route that connects numerous important commercial centers and tourist destinations in Utah’s red rock country and western Colorado. In addition to the main interstate routes, Utah’s primary and secondary federal and state highways provide easy access to rural areas, including many areas of world-class, unique beauty.
For more information about Utah transportation services, current and planned construction projects, or weather and road conditions, contact the Utah Dept. of Transportation at (801) 965-4000, or visit www.dot.utah.gov.
According to the 2011 Economic Report to the Governor, a projected 232,400 Utahns were employed in Trade, Transportation and Utilities in 2009, a modest decrease from the 2008 number of 235,200. Utah carriers provide service from Utah’s metropolitan areas to almost any point in the Western United States. There are currently approximately 700 trucking companies based in Utah, and intrastate and interstate motor freight services are provided by approximately 2,500 registered carriers. Carriers within the state provide one-day and two-day direct services to any point in the continental Western United States.
According to C.R. England, Utah enjoys the second-lowest shipping rates and the third-lowest average load to truck ratio in the Western U.S. For more information about Utah’s trucking industry, visit the Utah Trucking Association Website (www.utahtrucking.com) or the Utah Department of Transportation (www.udot.utah.gov).
Customs Port of Entry
Salt Lake City is a full-service customs port city. Currently, goods that enter under bond may be stored in customs-bonded facilities for up to five years without payment of customs duty. If goods are exported during this period, no duty is paid. Otherwise, duties are payable at the end of the term or upon entry into U.S. markets for consumption. In addition to Salt Lake City headquarters, Utah has ports of entry in Daniels, Echo, Kanab, Monticello, Peerless, Perry, St. George and Wendover. For more information about Utah’s ports of entry, visit www.udot.utah.gov.
Utah has approximately 1,700 miles of railroad track stretching from Iron County in the southwest, Grand County in the southeast, Tooele County in the west and Box Elder and Cache counties in the north. These rail lines converge in the Salt Lake-Ogden metropolitan area.
Utah’s central location makes the state an excellent interline switching route for shipments headed to the West Coast, as well as to eastern and Midwestern main terminals, without the need to back-haul shipments. Union Pacific is Utah’s major freight service provider, while Amtrak provides passenger service to major U.S. destinations.
Utah is an ideal interline switching route for shipments to the West Coast and to Midwest and Eastern main terminals. Salt Lake City is the westernmost point from which all West Coast cities can be served directly by rail without backtracking, with second-morning service to approximately 90 percent of the Western U.S. Union Pacific’s $83-million, 260-acre Salt Lake City Intermodal Terminal can service 250,000 truck, rail and ocean-going containers annually. Utah employs approximately 1,800 freight railroad employees, with an average salary of more than $96,390 in annual wages and other benefits, according to the Association of American Railroads (www.aar.org).
Utah’s mass transit system has expanded considerably in recent years. Currently, the Utah Transit Authority (UTA) serves an average of approximately 70,000-80,000 riders per weekday on its 140 bus lines. Bus service is available throughout most metropolitan areas of the state. Utah’s first TRAX lightrail line, between Salt Lake City and Sandy, opened in 1999, and within less than a year, well over 5 million passengers had taken a ride on the line. More than 4 million riders were transported on TRAX during the two weeks of the 2002 Olympic Winter Games. Since opening day TRAX has far outpaced initial projections of 14,000 combined riders per day on both the Sandy/Salt Lake Line and the University of Utah Line: currently, the system serves 50,000-60,000 riders per weekday.
In addition to its two current TRAX routes, the UTA has purchased considerable railroad corridor along the Wasatch Front for future expansion of the TRAX light rail system, as well as a commuter rail system that will eventually run from Brigham City in the north to Payson in southern Utah County.
As a result of its strong start and high acceptance rate—including at the ballot box—the TRAX light-rail system currently operates three lines: eastwest between downtown Salt Lake City and the University of Utah; northsouth between Salt Lake city center and Sandy; and northwest southeast between Salt Lake City Center and West Valley City. UTA is adding three additional lines in Salt Lake County: to Salt Lake International Airport, Draper and the Mid-Jordan area. All are slated for completion by 2015. Transit studies and planning are also underway in the Sugarhouse, South Davis, Taylorsville/ Murray and Ogden-Weber State University areas.
Another significant addition to Utah’s public transit system is a new commuter rail system called FrontRunner—a push-pull diesel train that runs at speeds up to 79 mph that makes fewer stops than does TRAX. The first of two lines opened in 2008 on the corridor between Salt Lake City and Ogden to the north. FrontRunner has rapidly become a major backbone of daily travel for thousands of Utahns.
Construction on the second FrontRunner South line, to run between Provo and Salt Lake City, is slated for completion in 2012, and to begin operations in 2013. The eight stations will include Draper, South Jordan, Murray and Salt Lake City in Salt Lake County; and Lehi, American Fork, Vineyard, Orem and Provo in Utah County. FrontRunner North currently serves an estimated 5,000 riders daily; ridership is projected to increase significantly as additional routes come into operation.
A major intermodal hub has been created in downtown Salt Lake City, which brings together five modes of passenger transportation: TRAX, UTA’s bus lines, FrontRunner, Greyhound and Amtrak.
Additional information about current and proposed public transit plans in Utah is available at www.rideuta.com.