Friday, February 21, 2014

Why you should be excited about SLC

SLC: Beautiful AND economically vibrant
With the Google Fiber announcement, Salt Lake City seems to be on something of a roll. And good for those making it happen! Seeing this, I thought I'd outline a few events that should make one happy to live in SLC.

1. While not a sure thing, Google Fiber has announced that SLC will be one of 34 cities (or nine metropolitan areas) examined as a potential site for expansion. Currently, the service is up and running in Austin, Kansas City, and Provo. Costs currently run $70/mo for a 1,000 Mbps (ie, Gigabit) connection, the 5Mbps service is free, and they're even offering a TV package (which will make it even easier to ditch Comcast). Considering the stranglehold Comcast and Century Link have on Utah (and much of the country), this competition is badly needed.

2. Salt Lake City recently announced its partnering with UTA to provide $30 transit passes for local residents, that will be available starting March 1st. The new website is here and the FAQ is here. They're calling it the Hive Pass and it's quite a significant program, as the pass is good on UTA buses, TRAX, and even FrontRunner.

3. UTA recently finished the Sugar House Streetcar project. While that's significant in itself, what UTA and Salt Lake County have done together in the last 5 years is nothing short of amazing. In just a few short years, TRAX extensions were added to South Jordan (finished Aug 2011), West Valley (Aug 2011), the airport (April 2013), and Draper (Aug 2013). This is on top of the already existing lines to Sandy (finished 1999) the University of Utah (finished 2001 and expanded in 2003). TRAX now boasts 44.8 miles of track. Additionally, FrontRunner (ie, commuter rail) is now running to Ogden (since April 2008) and now Provo (Dec 2012) and boasts 88 miles of track. This article has much more and states that SLC is currently number one in the nation in per-capita transit spending, which it surely doesn't get enough credit for (especially from this blog).

4. Finally, as of December, the Wasatch Front is one of the most vibrant economic regions in the nation (measured by unemployment rates), with SLC, Logan, Provo, and Ogden making it into the top 20 for metropolitan areas nationwide. Wooohoooo!

In term of lowest unemployment nationwide, Logan is tied for number 1; SLC and Provo are tied for 13; and Ogden is at tied for the 19th spot. A 3.5% unemployment rate is surely something to be proud of. Enjoy!

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