The Roy FrontRunner station is pictured on April 7, 2021.

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WILLARD — The Utah Transit Authority continues to buy property in Box Elder County, hoping to preserve land that will be necessary for a major northward expansion of the FrontRunner commuter rail.

Last week, UTA’s Board of Trustees approved the agency’s plan to purchase a nearly 3-mile section of old rail corridor that runs adjacent to the Willard Bay Reservoir in Box Elder County. Paul Drake, UTA’s director of real estate and transit oriented development, said the Utah Department of Transportation has owned the property but is agreeing to sell it to UTA for $2.75 million.

The land in question was part of the old Utah-Idaho Central Railroad corridor, but Spencer Burgoyne, UTA’s manager of property administration, said the rail has long been removed.

An expansion of the commuter rail into Box Elder County has been in the planning stages since even before the first section of FrontRunner was finished in 2008, through Davis and Weber counties. Drake said the land UTA is acquiring, much like previous corridor preservation efforts, is essential for the agency to own now because there is the potential of increased future land costs and the possibility of new developments that could conflict with the future expansion project.

This article is published through the Utah News Collaborative, a partnership of news organizations in Utah that aim to inform readers across the state. Click here to read the full article.

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