Utahns call on Governor Cox to veto ‘inland port fund’ bill

Wednesday, March 17, 2021

Over 1,700 Utahns have signed a letter to Governor Cox calling on him to veto Senate Bill 243 which creates an ‘inland port fund’.   Many of the letter signers are planning to speak against creation of the proposed polluting port, and satellite ports, and the creation of the ‘inland port fund’ at the meeting of the Utah Inland Port Authority Board, Wednesday March 17 at 4 pm.  

The inland port fund created by SB 243, passed with little public input during the last week of the session, would be overseen by a board of 5 appointed people, and would be empowered to use tax dollars to make low-interest loans to private business interests. 

“This legislation is another example of our legislature creating unaccountable boards to approve expenditures of public money,” said community activist David Scheer, “this anti-democratic bill does not serve the public’s interest, and the Governor should veto it.”

“The League of Women Voters of Utah asks why major Utah Inland Port legislation has twice been introduced in the very last five days of a forty-five-day session?” said Ann O’Connell, from the League of Women Voters Salt Lake. “The 2018 bill to create the port authority was first heard in committee the Friday before the last week. This year, SB 243 surfaced at exactly the same time. If the inland port is so important to Utah’s future why were these bills not thoroughly and publicly debated? SB 243 sets up procedures and financing – spending the taxpayers’ money – for two large and complex projects, the Utah Inland Port and the Point of the Mountain redevelopment. The League of Women Votes watches the legislature all year long, we read lots of bills, but we would be naïve to claim to comprehend all of SB 243. Therefore, it is obvious the average citizen has no idea what is happening to their taxes or their future.” 

O’Connell notes that, “ the very first goal of the League of Women Voter of Utah is to promote transparency and accountability in government, and to ensure a fair and equitable system that is accountable to the people.  Our legislators should be held to these standards. We ask Governor Cox to return SB 243 to the legislature for further study. That is exactly what legislative committees and interim meetings are meant to do.”

The letter to the Governor, with accompanying signatures, will be delivered to the Governor’s office tomorrow.