Gov. Herbert signs bill to create inland port authority

SALT LAKE CITY — Governor Gary Herbert has signed a bill to create an inland port authority, clearing the way for the state to have more control over tens of thousands of acres of land in Salt Lake City’s northwest quadrant.

Senate Bill 234 allows the state to create an “inland port,” where road, rail and air meet for a massive regional import/export center.

“If it matures as we envision it, it will be the largest economic development project we have ever brought to the state of Utah,” said Sen. Jerry Stevenson, R-Layton,” said Sen. Jerry Stevenson, R-Layton, in an interview with FOX 13 earlier this year.

The area is the site of future industrial developments, including a UPS hub and a massive Amazon fulfillment center.

Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski and other city leaders have spoken against the bill, raising concerns about how much power the new law will give the state, the kind of control they’ll have over the land and taxing authority. They’ve accused the state of a “land grab” snatching up as much as a third of the city.

In a letter to House Speaker Greg Hughes, R-Draper; and Senate President Wayne Niederhauser, R-Sandy; Gov. Herbert said it is important for the legislature to discuss concerns raised by Mayor Biskupksi.

The letter signaled that while he was not vetoing the bill, he expected lawmakers to be called into special session in the coming months to work out a bargain.

Read the governor’s letter here: