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A leading trade group named the Utah Transit Authority the "outstanding public transportation system" for 2013.

"Winning this means that UTA is the best large public transportation system in North America," said Michael Melaniphy, president and CEO of the American Public Transportation Association.

He added, "With aggressive and successful rail expansion, it's not surprising that UTA saw record-breaking ridership growth in 2013. As a leader in innovation, both in operations and sustainability, UTA is a role model for other public transit agencies."

It is the fourth time that UTA has won the honor through the years.

UTA General Manager Michael Allegra said the award is "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."

The award comes after UTA last year finished building 70 miles of rail lines in five years — two years ahead of schedule and $300 million under budget. In a year's time beginning in December, 2012, UTA opened the Provo-Salt Lake City extension of FrontRunner, the airport and Draper TRAX lines and the Sugar House streetcar line.