Stop the Polluting Port Coalition (STPP) Demands Port Authority NOT Use Taxpayer Dollars For Construction Of A New Transloading Facility

For immediate release: May 26, 2021
For information: Deeda Seed, 801-803-9892

Utah Inland Port Authority Planning To Spend Taxpayers’ Millions to Supercharge Dirty Port

The Utah Inland Port Authority (UIPA) recently announced its intention to build a new transloading facility to move shipping containers between rail and trucks, using taxpayer money to increase the profits of giant corporate land holders, such as Rio Tinto and Colmena Group.

According to a May 18th news release, this transloading facility is part of a deal UIPA is striking with the Port of Oakland. No details were provided about cost, scale of operations and cargo. 

UIPA Director Jack Hedge recently told the Utah Legislature that a transloading facility is what will turn the area designated for the port into a real ‘inland port’.

From a proposed budget amendment not yet voted on by UIPA, it appears they are planning to purchase property at a cost of $690,000, spend $8,000,000 on site improvements and $4,560,000 on publicly owned infrastructure improvements. We learned this from documents that were posted before the March UIPA Board meeting, and then pulled from the agenda for lack of proper notice. Again, the public is being left in the dark about how our tax dollars are being spent.

A transloading facility would supersize the proposed polluting port, bringing more warehouses, trucks and trains, and as the Port Authority Director said, make it an inland port.  In UIPA’s Strategic Business Plan, property owners (Colmena Group and Rio Tinto in particular) cited their interest in a transloading facility near their land to increase its value and help them sell warehouse space. They are not satisfied with the Union Pacific Transloading Railyard which is not far away and across I-80, but want ‘competition’.

In a nutshell it looks like UIPA intends to use at least $13.2 million in taxpayer dollars to build a transloading facility to benefit private businesses, developers and the Port of Oakland. 

In addition to the loss of Utahns’ tax dollars, our communities will suffer from polluted air, traffic congestion, destruction of the Great Salt Lake ecosystem and increased greenhouse gas emissions.

Stop the Polluting Port Coalition has begun circulating a sign-on letter to James Rogers, Chair of the UIPA Board, demanding that no action be taken to fund the transloading facility at the June 16 UIPA board meeting; and that the public be given complete information with a 60-day public comment period before any future action.