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Negotiations are off, so Utah may take a huge chunk of SLC land for an inland port

Posted at 12:30 PM, May 18, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-18 14:31:11-04

SALT LAKE CITY - Negotiations have apparently broken down between state and city officials over what has been called the largest economic development project in state history.

FOX 13 has confirmed Governor Gary Herbert's office has canceled any plans for a special session. There are currently no plans to reschedule.

"For two months, Governor Herbert negotiated in good faith with Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski, Senate President Wayne Niederhauser and House Speaker Greg Hughes on changes to the inland port bill passed by the Utah State Legislature in the 2018 General Session," governor's spokesman Paul Edwards told FOX 13 in a prepared statement. "We regret that these negotiations produced neither an acceptable compromise nor the needed consensus to convene a special session."

The Northwest Quadrant (graphic by Russ Slade, FOX 13 News)

The Utah State Senate also confirmed to FOX 13 that it could not reach a consensus, but would not close the door on anything down the road. House Speaker Greg Hughes' office referred inquiries to the governor's office.

Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski told FOX 13 for now, no deal could be reached, but said she was still open to "a deal that works."

The mayor expressed concerns that the newly created inland port authority board could start snatching up land, usurping municipal control.

The Amazon fulfillment center under construction in the Northwest Quadrant. (Photo by Ben Winslow, FOX 13 News)

A massive swath of Salt Lake City's land has been the subject of a lot of fighting between the city and the state.

The Northwest Quadrant, as Salt Lake City has called it, is roughly the size of Draper. It's the site of a UPS hub, an Amazon fulfillment center and other businesses that are moving in.

The area has the potential to generate billions for the economy.

Salt Lake City has been developing it and the state wants to also create an inland port in roughly the same area, where road/rail/air meet for a massive import/export center.

Mayor Biskupski has raised concerns about a "land grab," with the state taking over nearly 30 percent of the city's property.

The city has also worried about infrastructure demands, who controls the land and who gets tax revenue.

The legislature passed a bill that created an inland port authority and Gov. Herbert signed it into law.

However, he also demanded all sides negotiate a better deal and said he would call a special session when one was reached.