SLC mayor seeks restraining order to block the inland port from being built

Posted at 4:19 PM, Jun 24, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-24 18:19:24-04

SALT LAKE CITY — Mayor Jackie Biskupski filed an amended lawsuit against the state and the Inland Port Authority, seeking to block it from being built while the case goes through the courts.

The amended complaint centers around claims that the state-run inland port would take 100% of Salt Lake City’s property tax increment and takes a portion of the sales tax.

“This is wrong and this is unconstitutional,” the mayor said at a news conference on Monday. “The city is also asking the court for an injunction to stop the port authority from spending or committing any of the city’s property tax increment or sales tax as well as prohibiting any spending or design of port infrastructure until this lawsuit is settled.”

Arguing the state committed a “land grab” when it created the inland port authority, Mayor Biskupski filed a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of it. But Monday’s lawsuit and request for an injunction gets more aggressive.

The inland port is a massive import-export center being planned for Salt Lake City’s west side. It would bring in goods from the coast, bypassing customs, to be distributed across the region. The plan, which takes up a third of the city, is controversial. Residents on the west side of the city fear environmental impacts to the Great Salt Lake and wetlands, as well as people’s health from increased pollution and traffic along I-80.

The mayor has clashed with the Salt Lake City Council over how to handle it. At her news conference, she jabbed them saying “a seat at the table has not served us well.” Mayor Biskupski is putting her faith in litigation.

“The Salt Lake City Council was notified about the filing once it was submitted to the court. As with the initial filing, the Council was not included nor briefed on the content of the today’s amended filing,” said Council Chairman Charlie Luke. “Now that the amendments are within the Court system we are anxious to see whether the City’s authority can be fully restored. The Salt Lake City Council unanimously has done everything within our ability to mitigate damage to the City.”

In a statement, Derek Miller, the chairman of the Inland Port Authority, did not directly address the mayor’s lawsuit.

“We will let the politicians and lawyers argue and fight while the board moves forward building the most technologically advanced port in the nation,” he said.

Read the amended lawsuit here: