UIPA’s money is our money; where is our say?
Two excellent op-eds on residents’ views and experiences with the Utah Inland Port were published in the Salt Lake Tribune this week.
Teri Lyn Harman attended the Stop the Polluting Port Coalition’s May 11th rally and press conference at the capitol preceding the Inland Port’s board meeting. “Everyone filled out comment cards, many of us marking the willingness to speak publicly. However, only one of us, Dr. James Westwater of Utah Valley Earth Forum, was allowed to comment, and he was last. The other in-person commenters were developers, profiting businesses, a landowner, and a Spanish Fork City representative — all pro-port. And all men, even though our group was mostly women,” she wrote of her experience with the UIPA board.
“I recognize and respect that the UIPA board has a lot to consider and this is a complicated process. Everyone who attended the meeting — board and guests — wants good things for Utah. When we fail to have inclusive, empathetic conversations, we fail to move forward in a holistic and productive way. Economic growth is important, but when we don’t balance that with other essential concerns, we hurt ourselves and future generations.”
Ann Florence, with the Stop the Polluting Port Coalition, focused her op-ed on the transparency and funding concerns many residents have surrounding the Inland Port. “The Utah Inland Port Authority is passing out free money in the form of water, power and transportation infrastructure to any county or city that can make a case for building its own inland port. Once a location is approved, it can be labeled a “project area,” a euphemism for “private businesses subsidized by taxpayers.” UIPA and private owners will be given a share of municipal taxes for decades to come instead of those taxes going to other urgently needed services,” Florence writes.
She goes on to call out some benefiting from the Inland Port and outlines their concerning history and connections that insinuate corruption behind port operations.