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Herbert: Utah has to take charge of Inland Port Authority

By Amy Joi O'Donoghue, KSL  |  Posted May 24th, 2018 @ 2:41pm


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SALT LAKE CITY — Gov. Gary Herbert said he sent letters Thursday to the entities involved in the governing board of the Inland Port Authority, asking for the selection of appointees in time for a mid-June meeting.

Herbert, speaking at his monthly KUED media availability, said organization of the Inland Port Authority will continue as provided by the law passed in the 2018 legislative session and despite failed negotiations with the Salt Lake City mayor's office.

"It has fallen apart," he said, which leaves one option.

"We will move ahead as provided under the law," he said.

Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski's chief concerns with the port authority law include the land use authority, the tax increment — the authority gets 100 percent — adusting the boundaries and the lack of appointment authority by her office.

The Salt Lake City Council gets to make an appointment to the 11-member board, as does Salt Lake County and West Valley City. The majority of those appointments, however, rest with the state.

Critics say it is ironic that the state of Utah has stepped in to exercise so much authority over the inland port — which will occupy nearly 20,000 acres of the city's northwest quadrant — when the state rails so loudly against the federal government taking too much control.

Herbert says he doesn't see it that way because there is a significant difference in the analogy.

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"States created the federal government, not the other way around. States created the (political) subdivisions of government, the cities and the counties," he said. "For the good of the whole we are going to have to take charge and bring people together. … For the good of everybody in the state of Utah, it is the right thing to do."

Biskupski said Wednesday the city is not going to give up its land use authority or taxing authority to the state — which is at the heart of the impasse.

The governor said the state's desire for an inland port has been no secret — he publicly pushed for the need four years ago — and development of a global trade area is vital to Utah's interests.

"This inland port will allow us to be a crossroads of the world," he said, "not just the nation."

On Wednesday, a panel of global trade experts called on leaders to get past the politics of the inland port authority and instead focus on the economic good and status it will bring to Utah. But talks remained stalled after state and city leaders in interviews with KSL blamed each other for being unwilling to budge.

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Amy Joi O'Donoghue, KSL
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