Letter: Utah is stealing from Salt Lake City with the inland port

(Francisco Kjolseth | Tribune file photo) Aerial photos of various Salt Lake points of interest, including the proposed inland port area.

The people of Salt Lake City are gradually awakening to the travesty of the inland port. It is an unprecedented land grab by the state of Utah, seizing more than 20 square miles from the authority of Salt Lake City. The port has its own unelected governing board of 11 people, only two of whom come from Salt Lake. This board answers only to the state. All authority now rests with the board. The city has lost ownership of the land, any authority, and most of the revenues that may come from the economic activities of the port. The state hasn’t even paid the city for the land.

Perhaps this giant entity should be called Inland Port City. It will have to come up with its own police force, fire department, other services and a full administration. It must also build miles of fences if it is to be a true port with appropriate federal customs inspectors to regulate and levy tariffs on the movement of international commerce.

I applaud the mayor for her courage in filing suit against the state Legislature and the governor. There is no legal basis for seizing land from a city. What the state is doing is both unconstitutional and demonstrably undemocratic.

James King, Salt Lake City

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