Taxpayer dollars being wasted by the Utah Inland Port Authority

Construction on one of the Inland Port jurisdiction sites.

For five years, UPHE has been calling out all the reasons why the Inland Port was a terrible idea. In the last year, we helped hire a logistics expert who thoroughly analyzed the Port’s business plan and found that it was never going to work. Shortly after, the Port Authority (UIPA) abandoned the core of the port, a transloading facility, moving goods from trains to trucks and back and forth.  

A new article from the Salt Lake Tribune now points out a gross misuse of taxpayer dollars. Utah residents are on the hook for $120,000 every month for 40 years to rich developers for absolutely nothing.

UIPA signed contracts for a truck-to-train cargo facility and a semi truck parking lot, agreeing to pay substantial sums monthly for years. Despite walking back these plans, the UIPA remains locked into expensive agreements. UIPA’s financial management and decision-making extend to its lack of comprehensive studies or analyses prior to utilizing taxpayer dollars.

The port’s impact on air quality, its threat to previously untouched areas and wetlands, and its lack of a clear plan or progress have raised concerns. UIPA has failed to conduct a thorough human health risk assessment, raising worries about potential negative health effects on communities adjacent to its operations. The Port’s potential impact has also somehow been left out of the EPA’s environmental justice study for the west side. 

This lack of planning should be something residents and local governments across the state should be aware of as the Port seeks to rapidly expand. They have a recently passed port in Cedar City and in Spanish Fork. They are still attempting to expand, seeking development near the Bear River Bird Refuge, Box Elder County, Juab County, and Tooele County. 

The Port is seeking to industrialize previously untouched areas. Many near wetlands, some with the intent to export more fossil fuels and alfalfa. The Port utilizing taxpayer dollars for their operations is essentially providing a subsidy for these industries while threatening local ecology and contributing to climate change. The Port is inherently anti environment and harmful to human health and the quality of life of many Utahns who enjoy the rural and peaceful nature of our home. 

Find the Salt Lake Tribune’s coverage here.