Five takeaways from our interview with the Utah Inland Port’s new boss

We spent an hour discussing the agency with incoming Executive Director Ben Hart. Here are a few things that stood out.

(Francisco Kjolseth | The Salt Lake Tribune) Ben Hart, Utah Inland Port Authority's new executive director is pictured on Tuesday, Sept. 13, 2022.

A new executive director has taken charge of the Utah Inland Port Authority, and the agency is undergoing an overhaul.

[Related: New inland port director is ready to slow down and listen]

The port’s new boss, Ben Hart, spoke with The Salt Lake Tribune earlier this month after just a few days on the job. He shared his vision for the controversial inland port, along with the projects he wants to prioritize — along with those he plans to abandon. Here are five things that stood out.

Hart says Utah needs an inland port to serve as an economic engine.

He sees it as a source of jobs and a community asset similar to Hill Air Force Base.

One of the port’s top priorities will be remediating an old landfill site in Salt Lake City’s northwest quadrant.

Hart wants to see the area redeveloped into something striking that gives visitors a sense of place.

The port will stop meddling with an effort by Patriot Rail to buy the church-owned property it wants for a new rail yard.

The project was meant to alleviate traffic and pollution in Salt Lake City’s west side, but the port previously tried to scoop up the site and inflated its selling price.

Plans for a multimillion-dollar transloading facility appear all but abandoned.

The project, which would move cargo between trucks and trains, was a priority of the previous executive director. Hart criticized a contract signed to build and rent the port site, which he called “premature.”

The new executive director wants to lure manufacturing and biotech jobs to the port.

Hart said such companies approached him at his previous job with the Governor’s Office of Economic Opportunity with an interest in locating in Utah. But he implied past dysfunction within the port authority prevented those businesses from making the move.

To read more about Hart’s thoughts on satellite ports, quality of life for the west side and more, read our full story: New inland port director is ready to slow down and listen.