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Inland port amendments bill passed, heads to governor's desk

Utah Capitol 100317.JPG
The Utah House passed a final version of{ }HB 433 updating the powers and scope of the Inland Port{ }in Salt Lake City. (Photo: KUTV)

(KUTV) — The Utah House passed a final version of HB 433 updating the powers and scope of the Inland Port in Salt Lake City. The bill still requires a signature from Gov. Gary Herbert, which is expected.

Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski filed suit against the planned port earlier this week, challenging its constitutionality.

Biskupski accuses state leaders who approved the board's creation of "usurping Salt Lake City's taxing and land use authority."

"The Inland Port represents one of the greatest threats to Salt Lake City—and frankly, to the rights of cities and towns, the form of government closest to the people," Biskupski writes.

The Utah Inland Port Authority, the board's chair, Derek Miller, and Herbert are named in the suit, which was filed by the Salt Lake City Attorney's Office in 3rd Judicial District Court on Monday.

Miller released a statement Wednesday, thanking those who helped pass the bill Herbert is expected to sign. It read:

We would like to thank the bill sponsors Rep. Francis Gibson and Sen. David Buxton as well as Salt Lake City Council, Utah League of Cities and Towns, Utah’s rural communities, Heal Utah and others who contributed to HB 433. This bill will advance the Utah Inland Port project and benefit Utah and its residents. H.B. 433 will expand economic opportunities statewide, encourage investment and accountability for clean air, and open trade to international areas for our growing state

Gibson, a Republican in District 65 in Mapleton, is the chief sponsor of the bill and was appointed to the port authority board by Herbert.

The changes are:

  • Authorizes the Inland Port Authority to adopt a "project area plan" for an area outside its authority jurisdictional land
  • Expands the years from 25 to 40, that the authority takes 100 percent of the captured property taxes
  • A portion of the bill that was taken out was language that prohibits "a political subdivision from challenging the creation, existence, funding, powers, project areas, or duties of the Utah Inland Port Authority and prohibits the use of public money for any challenge." Biskupski said she had to beat the deadline of the bill's passage in order to file the suit.
  • Modifies the use of authority funds
  • Bars an action to a project area or plan if not brought forward in a specified time
  • Modifies the amount of property tax differential the authority may use for operating expenses

Herbert previously said the global distribution hub will play a significant role in the Utah economy after SB234 bill was signed into law last year, against the wishes of Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski who objected to the way funds from the port would be shared with the city that contains it. She, and others, are also concerned over pollution the hub is expected to cause.

The bill is sponsored by Rep. Francis Gibson, who was appointed to the Inland Port Authority Board by Gov. Gary Herbert, after former House Speaker Greg Hughes resigned from the board. His voluntary resignation came on the heels of debate over his property holdings nearby the proposed trade hub in the outskirts of Salt Lake City.