Carbon County was visited by Derek Miller on Tuesday afternoon to discuss the upcoming Salt Lake City (SLC) Inland Port and receive input from the rural area.
Miller is a man that wears many hats, boasting the titles of President of the Salt Lake Chamber and Downtown Alliance, Governor’s appointee on the port authority, Inland Port Authority Board Chair and former President and CEO of the World Trade Center in Utah.
Miller opened this discussion, hosted at The Tuscan, by expressing that the port is important to SLC and Utah, but just as important to the Intermountain West in general.
“The Utah Inland Port area is one of the few remaining undeveloped areas of Salt Lake County” the Inland Port Authority shared. “It sits at the intersection of two interstate freeways, major national railways, and an international airport which puts the area in high demand for expanding warehouse, distribution, and manufacturing. In addition, Utah’s population will nearly double in the coming decades, creating the need for more jobs and for greater ability to move people and goods. The Inland Port Authority was created to engage with interested organizations and individuals to establish a strategic plan that maximizes economic and other benefits while maintaining a high quality of life.”
Due to the port being a hot-button item for many, decorum and the public process was also touched on briefly. Miller then explained to attendees that the project began being discussed in the 70’s and has now been revived again for the third time. He presented a slideshow discussing what Utah trades and who the goods and products are traded to, with the top two being the United Kingdom and Hong Kong.
Utah’s exports have doubled in the last ten years and 22 percent of the jobs in Utah are directly supported by exports. Miller then stated that he was not hosting this discussion to give a plethora of answers but rather to receive necessary input.
“I’m here today to begin a conversation,” Miller expressed.
He continued by stressing the fact that the port is a brand new effort and project, something that has only recently been explored. He also stated that he has been to Vernal, St. George, Cedar City and more with hopes of also traveling to Richfield to ensure that coverage and input from many areas is received. The goal is to make Utah a center of commerce for the western United States and the decision to build the port was not made by the port authority or board, but was made years ago by SLC.
Much research and effort has gone into the creation of the port with feasibility studies and site visits being conducted. The authority made trips to a large amount of the ports that already exist within the United States to gather intelligence and compare.
Once Miller had concluded his presentation, he opened the floor for discussion. The first question voiced was why people are so against the port. Miller stated that there are individuals that have concerns and questions about the environmental impact. Discussion was also posed on the monies, with Miller expressing that the fight is against SLC and the state on who’s controlling the money.
However, Miller promised that will be resolved and is not going to change the trajectory of the port.
For more information on the port and to stay up-to-date with its advancements, please click here.