SALT LAKE CITY — For the fourth time, the Utah Transit Authority has been named one of the best public transportation systems in North America.

UTA is being recognized as the 2014 Outstanding Public Transportation System Achievement Award winner by the American Public Transportation Association, the international industry organization representing the United States and Canada. The award honors public transportation systems that have demonstrated “achievement in efficiency and effectiveness.”

There are three such awards based on the size of the transit system. UTA won for large systems providing 20 million or more annual passenger trips. The agency has previously been honored in 1986, 1996 and 2002.

“This is a great honor for UTA and confirmation from our peers across the country of what our loyal customers already know, that we have the best multi-modal transit system in the United States,” said UTA General Manager Michael Allegra. “Just as we are always studying other transit systems, likewise our peer transit agencies have been contacting us asking for our help, so that they can learn from our experience during a time of record growth.”

Last year, the agency experienced a year of record ridership exceeding 44 million boardings, along with the opening of multiple new light rail lines. During a 12-month period concluding in December 2013, UTA opened four rail lines including one commuter rail line, two light rail lines, and Utah’s first modern streetcar line.

The new rail lines were part of UTA’s FrontLines 2015 project, which broke ground in 2008 and was expected to build 70 miles of rail in seven years. The program was completed two years ahead of schedule and $300 million under budget.

The association described its awards as “given to those individuals and organizations that have made outstanding contributions to the public transportation industry in North America. Winning an APTA Award means that you are ‘the best of the best’ and a distinguished leader,” the association stated.

“Winning this means that UTA is the best large public transportation system in North America," said association President and CEO Michael Melaniphy. "As a leader in innovation, both in operations and sustainability, UTA is a role model for other public transit agencies."

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