There has been much public discussion of the newly proposed inland port, advertised as bringing jobs and growth to the northwest quadrant of Salt Lake City.
We’ve all read about the controversial takeover of the port proposals from Salt Lake City by the state Legislature during the last days of the session. Gov. Gary Herbert has weighed in, saying he will call a special session to resolve the issues between the state and city.
Legislators, Gov. Herbert, what about all the other counties that will be affected by this massive development project?
The port is supposed to bring jobs. Where will the workers live? From where will they commute? Where will their children go to school? Where will they obtain health care?
The port will also bring significant train and truck traffic. Counties that have a railroad or an interstate will bear this increased traffic, polluting the air, increasing the noise environment and lengthening workers’ commutes.
The port will inevitably add pollution to our beautiful and unique Great Salt Lake. The Great Salt Lake is an environmental treasure and a significant economic resource for Utah.
We, as Davis County residents, know that our county certainly will feel significant effects. Anyone who drives I-15 during rush hours knows that Davis residents don’t all work in Davis County and that Davis businesses are staffed from many neighboring counties. Davis County schools are overcrowded, and most of our cities are struggling to address needs for affordable housing and transportation options. We are concerned about the possibility of increased Legacy Highway traffic between the Freeport Center and the new port. Air polluted in Salt Lake County is not contained by the county boundary.
Take note, Utah. This project will affect almost every county in our state. Our state government has taken a short-term, myopic view of its impact. Tell your legislators and Gov. Herbert to slow down, give the public a chance to weigh in, and consider the costs as well as the benefits of the proposed inland port.
Nicola Nelson, Kathy Stockel and Ann Johnson, Members of the board of the League of Women Voters of Davis County
(Published in the Salt Lake Tribune, April 29, 2018)