SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (News4Utah) – Gov. Gary Herbert singed SB 234 Friday which creates an inland port authority for an area in Northwest Quadrant of Salt Lake City. He also told legislative leaders he want sto call a special session to fix parts of the bill after city leaders brought up concerns.
The inland port would allow containers from Western ports to be immediately loaded onto trains and shipped to Salt Lake City. Speaker of the House Greg Hughes said it could also be good for U.S. businesses shipping overseas.
“They could go through customs here,” said Speaker Hughes. “Where you could then see the export of those empty containers, filled and then export it out.”
The inland port would be the only one of it’s kind in the West according to Hughes.
In his letter to House and Senate leaders, Gov. Herbert said while his concerns over the bill didn’t rise to the level of a veto. He is taking serious the concerns of leaders in Salt Lake City. The statement said in part:
“Although the bill is not perfect yet, it does allow the State and local governments to move forward on this significant project. I look forward to working with the Legislature, Salt Lake City, and other stakeholders on technical amendments and other minor adjustments in preparation for a special session.”
Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski responded in a statement that she was disappointed the Governor signed the bill, but appreciated his willingness to call a special session. Her statement listed some of the areas they wanted to see fixed.
“Making sure the land use appeals follow state law and city codes; ensuring the port authority is limited to two percent of the tax increment for furthering the objectives of the inland port; reducing the size of the area covered under the bill; and having a board that equitably represents Salt Lake City’s interests.”
Businesses have already started to build facilities in the inland port area. It’s unclear how long it would take to build the extra rail lines needed for shipping in and out.
Speaker Hughes believes the bill is good, and hopes once everyone comes together it will be a collaborative effort.
“It’s always when you’re doing something bold and new there is that apprehension,” said Speaker Hughes. “But again I think we’ve proven as a state and as communities that as we’ve done this together we can be very successful. That’s what we need to do with this.”
The Governor hasn’t set a date for the special session, but it will likely be in the next few months.