Inland port’s effort to snatch up LDS Church property throws wrench into plan to improve air, traffic
Not only did the Inland Port’s effort to obtain the Church’s property lack transparency, it also could block a project years in the making aimed to IMPROVE air quality.
“Turns out, the Utah Department of Transportation, in partnership with a small Utah-based rail company, already had secured federal funding for the site years ago in an effort to improve traffic, air quality and noise-pollution issues around Salt Lake City’s Poplar Grove neighborhood,” the Salt Lake Tribune writes.
The project is called “Western Interchange” and is looking to move Salt Lake Garfield and Western Railway’s ( SLGW) rail yard out of Poplar Grove, a west side neighborhood. The rail company claims moving the rail yard would reduce traffic back ups up to 90% across seven intersections. The traffic congestion currently leads to increased emissions in that area, contributing to pollution and ultimately ozone levels.
The conflict raises questions, again, over the Inland Port Authority’s use of taxpayer dollars. Should we be paying for polluting projects to block ones aimed at improving air and quality of life?
SLGW, in partnership with UDOT, already received federal funds for this project, and offered $6 million for the land, sharing an appraisal value that demonstrates the offer is far over the land’s appraised value.
“Representatives with Suburban Land Reserve … previously told The Salt Lake Tribune that after “a competitive marketing process, the Utah Inland Port Authority was the successful bidder among several interested parties who made offers on the land”. This raises the question of how much the Inland Port is paying for this piece of land, and how taxpayer dollars are being used.