What does “modernizing infrastructure” mean for SLC?

Utah is getting over $25 million in funds from the U.S. Department of Transportation. The funds are dedicated to two projects being touted to modernize infrastructure, the State Route 224 Battery Electric Bus and BRT Project in Summit County and the Utah Inland Port. 

The S.R. 224 project promotes electric mass transit, reducing traffic and emissions in the busy highway through Park City. The Utah Inland Port has no clear plan to improve infrastructure – it only seems to plan to increase pollution. Yet, they are receiving $445,000 of the $25.4 million to “create a market assessment and business case analysis for a multi-modal logistics center and related infrastructure needs in southern Utah,” a KSL article reports. 

A recent op-ed in the Salt Lake Tribune by William E. Fisher reminds us that the Utah Inland Port “still has not completed and released a health risk assessment that would identify the health problems the port would cause.” The money is ironically coming from the Rebuilding America’s Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity program. We aren’t sure how the port was deemed eligible for money through this program since it is so far neither sustainable, nor equitable. No further work on the Port should be done until the necessary risk assessments are conducted and released to the public. 

Photo by E P Kosmicki

They also need to release a plan to mitigate environmental injustice, and acknowledge that the neighborhoods most impacted by the heavy traffic and emissions will be poorer and more diverse communities. 

At the same time this money is being allocated to the polluting port, Salt Lake City is contemplating major infrastructure changes that could actually protect people. In light of rising pedestrian deaths, Salt Lake City is implementing a “Livable Streets” program, designed to make our city streets more walkable, and safer. These improvements are designed to make walking, biking, and using public transportation safer and more accessible. 

Read more about the infrastructure funds here.

Read the op-ed on the Inland Port here.

Read more about “Livable Streets” here.