SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Transit Authority has awarded an $800,000 contract to study the best way to extend TRAX through the current Draper prison site at the Point of the Mountain to Lehi.

The UTA board awarded the contract Wednesday to Parametrix, a consulting firm based in Washington state that has offices in Utah, but only $550,000 in funding is currently available, according to Steve Meyer, UTA interim director.

Meyer said that money, largely from Salt Lake County, will help determine the preferred route. Once additional money is secured, he said the price of building and operating the project, as well as funding sources, can be finalized.

Two routes already being discussed are "the starting point," Meyer said.

One would extend the Blue Line along a rail corridor already owned by UTA while an alternative would extend the Red Line west from the Sandy FrontRunner station to South Jordan and then Lehi.

Both will be evaluated according to cost, ridership and speed, he said, as well as environmental impacts. The study should take a little over a year to complete, Meyer said.

The ultimate cost of the TRAX extension will be at least $1.2 billion, he said.

Transportation is key to the Point of the Mountain Commission, charged with planning for the development of the Utah State Prison site in Draper, set to be shut down once a new facility west of the Salt Lake City International Airport is finished.

In January, a $2.5 billion plan was unveiled that included speeding up the extension of not only TRAX but also the Mountain View Corridor south to accommodate the new technology and other companies in the area known as Silicon Slopes.