Inland Port Authority asks judge to let the project go forward over SLC mayor’s objections

SALT LAKE CITY — Attorneys for the Inland Port Authority and the state of Utah are asking a judge to reject a restraining order request filed by Salt Lake City over the massive project.

In a response to Mayor Jackie Biskupski’s lawsuit, the port authority and state’s attorneys claim “the City cannot demonstrate it will suffer any harm — let alone irreparable harm — without the issuance of an injunction, that the alleged injury to the City outweighs the threatened injury of granting the broad injunctive relief the City requests, or that the injunction would not be adverse to the public interest.”

In a court filing obtained by FOX 13, attorneys for the Utah Inland Port Authority said it would not begin collecting any tax money until 2020. The project itself, they argue, has been planned for more than 40 years. But an injunction that stalls the entire project would cause them harm.

“For example, the State is currently involved in negotiations ‘with a number of very
prominent companies that are interested in making substantial investments within the [UIPA’s] jurisdictional area… The magnitude of the investments under discussion is
likely to exceed $100 million and would create more than 3,000 jobs with a likely salary of $100,000 or more per year,” wrote UIPA attorney Evan Strassberg. “Importantly, however, most if not all of the companies participating in these negotiations are considering making investments in other states, consider the availability and magnitude of financial incentives from relevant jurisdictions a key factor in their decision making processes, and plan to decide where to relocate within the next 9 to 12 months.”

Any delays would deprive Utahns of jobs, tax revenue, and even delay public infrastructure and planning for the area, he argued.

Mayor Biskupski sued over the inland port, arguing that the state-level project in the Northwest Quadrant deprives Salt Lake City of tax revenue. She has also accused state leaders of a “land grab” by snatching up a massive portion of the city for the import-export center designed to get goods and services from coastal areas to the mountain west region.

The inland port itself has struggled to get off the ground. Meetings for the port authority have repeatedly been disrupted by demonstrators upset about the impact to west-side neighborhoods and the larger environmental impact, resulting in arrests. The most recent protest had some violence as protesters clashed with police and the press.

Most of the candidates running to replace Mayor Biskupski have vowed to keep the lawsuit going.

Read the court filing here:

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