Utah Supreme Court bucks Salt Lake City’s claim Inland Port Authority Act is unconstitutional

Photo: Gephardt Daily/Patrick Benedict

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah, June 29, 2022 (Gephardt Daily) — The Utah Supreme Court ruled Wednesday against two of Salt Lake City’s challenges to the Utah Inland Port Authority Act, but litigation appears likely to continue.

“The court ruled that the act may require affected cities to comply with zoning and land use requirements for the Inland Port,” according to a press release from the Utah Attorney General’s Office. “This ruling affirms two important parts of the act, which provides a framework for developing the proposed inland port in northwest Salt Lake City, West Valley City, and Magna.”

Mayor Erin Mendenhall and the Salt Lake City Council immediately criticized the decision, calling it “deeply disappointing.”

“The Legislature should not be allowed to unilaterally change municipal land uses it does not agree with or redirect tax revenues that belong to cities,” the officials wrote on the city’s web page.

“The Utah Supreme Court’s decision is deeply disappointing. The purpose of Salt Lake City’s litigation was to emphasize the unique authority of cities in Utah to directly respond to the needs of local constituents.

“Today’s ruling,” according to the state’s press release, “reaffirms the legitimate statewide purpose of the inland port and allows us to continue to work toward bringing the benefits of the port to the people of Utah,” Utah House Majority Leader Mike Schultz wrote.

“We look forward to engaging with our many stakeholders, including Salt Lake City, under the new framework adopted during the 2022 General Session to create an inland port that is a model of economic development and environmental sustainability.”

But Mendenhall and the city council called the ruling a threat to a city’s autonomy. “By allowing the state to usurp municipal land use authority, the Utah Supreme Court has potentially created serious consequences for the local authority of all 249 Utah cities and towns.”

Sen. Jerry Stevenson, Inland Port board of directors member, said, “I appreciate the Utah Supreme Court’s thorough review of this case.

“Our state has a tremendous opportunity to enhance the crossroads to the west as Salt Lake City has direct rail connections to all major west coast terminals. The impact of this international port will be positively felt throughout the entire western United States and our great state.”



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