Utah Inland Port Authority
UIPA plans to develop a system of rural connections or “satellite ports” that serve as nodes in the Utah logistics system. These locations will form a complementary system of freight consolidating and movement assets to facilitate the efficient movement of goods throughout Utah.
As part of the network, UIPA has split Utah into four regions based on transportation corridors and cargo flows throughout the state. Utilizing infrastructure already in place, counties working together as a region have a greater ability to transport goods and boost their respective economies.
Satellite ports are intended to catalyze trade activities statewide providing synergies necessary to boost imports and exports, improve access to domestic markets, and facilitate transit of goods and products of key Utah industries. The development of these locations also is intended to help rural areas of the state position themselves to participate in—and grow because of—the new market economy that will create better jobs for the future off the Wasatch Front.
Misinformation about UIPA’s environmental impact continues to be spread. We look at the state’s logistics system using a holistic approach, including economic and environmental impacts as well as other factors.
Development in the northwest quadrant of Salt Lake City has occurred for many years, long before UIPA was established in 2018. The development is a result of the zoning and land use planning by municipalities such as Salt Lake City, West Valley City, and Magna. The Port Authority has no land use authority whatsoever.
We exist to mitigate and influence how things are built in our jurisdiction. Development would have happened whether or not UIPA existed, and we seize the opportunity to choose and influence how the development takes place.
The Port Authority has made the following recommendations for sustainable building practices that are current features on development projects within UIPA’s jurisdictional boundary north of Interstate 80:
- Thermal mass panels
- Low VOC paints
- LED lighting
- Solar energy
- LEED certifiable
- Low water use, natural landscaping
- EV charging stations
Additionally, the Port Authority is actively working with the National Audubon Society to secure and preserve the land that municipalities have designated and zoned as natural areas. Additionally, UIPA and Audubon are working to impose a buffer to separate and protect the critical shorebird and related habitat of the Great Salt Lake.
UIPA is also working with municipalities to develop a storm water and water quality master plan for the jurisdictional area.
Air quality is a top concern for Utahns, and UIPA is committed to promoting sustainable and smart logistics through partnerships, policies, and programs. We inherit dirty logistics—we don’t have to build them.
We are working closely with the Utah Department of Environmental Quality—the environmental regulator in the state—on implementing best practices to meet and exceed federal and state standards. This comes through sustainable logistics, development, and industry.
In October 2020, the Port Authority signed the Utah Climate and Clean Air Compact with more than 100 Utah business, government, faith, and civic leaders. The compact’s vision is to be responsible stewards of Utah’s future and the future of children here and around the world. UIPA is working to promote sustainable industry practices and reduce emissions.
UIPA Executive Director Jack Hedge also sits on the Utah Clean Cities Coalition Board of Trustees. Utah Clean Cities is an organization that focuses on decarbonizing fleets, clean fuel strategies and investment.
Additionally, the Port Authority has a seat on the board of Utah State’s Advancing Sustainability through Powered Infrastructure for Roadway Electrification (ASPIRE) Center. This center is working towards widespread electrification of all vehicle classes, improved air quality, and public infrastructure that provides an inexpensive, seamless charging experience. UIPA is focused on transportation electrification research and advancement as well as innovative energy technologies.
UIPA used a robust data-gathering process while preparing our 2020-2024 strategic business plan, which enables us to make data-driven decisions on how we can improve environmental and economic outcomes. The plan includes the best available data sources analyzed using both regional and national modeling techniques, giving the most complete look to date at industry and community conditions and impacts in Utah. The planning process was led by CPCS, a national consulting firm that specializes in transportation and logistics analysis and policy.
The baseline data shows what is currently happening and what is forecasted if nothing alters current practices. This information can be found in the plan itself, technical appendix, and scenarios comparison on our strategic business plan page.
While the Utah Inland Port Authority does not have land use authority or environmental regulatory authority within inland port areas, we work to initiate and incentivize sustainable development standards. We encourage the development and use of cost-efficient renewable energy in project areas and pursue policies to avoid or minimize negative environmental impacts of development.
There are misconceptions about the requirement for an environmental impact study (EIS) as part of UIPA’s work. The Port Authority has not drafted an environmental impact study because we have not embarked on any development that triggers the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process.
There is a misunderstanding about what role UIPA plays in the development of property. UIPA does not own or control all the property within its jurisdictional boundary because the Port Authority has NO LAND USE AUTHORITY. Zoning decisions within UIPA’s jurisdictional boundary rest with municipalities—Salt Lake City, West Valley City, and Magna—which means the Port Authority cannot determine what is built on the parcels in its jurisdictional boundary. But we can influence how things are built. Right now, UIPA has leased property in the jurisdictional area and has plans to build a transload facility adjacent to the Union Pacific railyard.
UIPA’s jurisdictional boundary is a construct to determine property tax differential, which is levied on the difference between current land values and improvements made on the land to increase its value. While Salt Lake City keeps a portion of the tax differential and a separate percentage of it goes to municipalities for affordable housing, the Port Authority uses the remainder to advance sustainable and smart logistics investments through partnerships, policies, programs, and bonding.
UIPA is a state agency with a statewide mandate. With that perspective, it can see what assets Utah has to offer and how those assets interconnect with the nation’s logistics network, while also prioritizing the public’s values.
This looks like low-impact building standards for new construction, renewable energy options for business, and smart technology to support changing demand. It means moving the transport of more goods to rail and diverting truck traffic away to supply chain nodes off the Wasatch Front. It also could mean public transit options and improved road infrastructure. All are impactful changes that can come from UIPA partnerships. By coordinating planning and development, Utah’s logistics network will become a more efficient, resilient, and sustainable statewide system.
The Port Authority was established in 2018 as a state corporation directed to maximize long-term benefits of logistics development statewide. We are charged with revolutionizing global logistics with the mission of promoting sustainable, equitable, and smart logistics investments. Our key objectives include:
- Position Utah as a leading trade logistics hub
- Advance sustainable and smart supply chains
- Be a responsible steward of the environment and local communities
- Effectively manage UIPA resources
We have all been affected by the pandemic in multiple ways, however, the Authority has navigated the online, at-home meeting world and continues to meet people where they are to drive initiatives forward.
Local logistics activity—including distribution and fulfillment centers, trucking and rail terminals, and manufacturing facilities—tend to cluster along major transportation routes. Utah is in a prime location with direct connections to three major western gateways along the West Coast, helping funnel goods from those seaports out into the Midwest. Forty percent of the nation’s GDP flows through Utah from western ports, and having a Port Authority gives Utah greater access to the market, particularly for exports.
The UIPA touts our location in a way that will benefit businesses and communities in regions across the state through improved market access, sustainable and efficient cargo handling, and unmatched global connections. By building on the excellent multi-modal transportation connections that are already present, we will prepare for future growth and economic stability as we promote the benefits of our connected and critical infrastructure network to the state’s rural economies, West Coast ports, and international markets.
The logistics industry doesn’t drive economic activity; logistics supports economic activity. A strong, sustainable economy needs a strong, sustainable, and reliable logistics system. Our lifestyle requires it. However, disruptive technologies are fueling sweeping changes and development is already happening – and the change is coming faster all the time. These factors make the time ripe for an inland port system that is organized and positioned in a way as to keep pace with innovation and change in order to stay ahead of predicted growth and channel development in the most sustainable way.
While the Utah Inland Port features all the key elements of other successful inland ports, it stands out in several distinct ways:
Location – Utah is uniquely positioned and connected to the major gateways of the West Coast: located equidistant from the major seaports and almost exactly halfway between these vital logistics hubs and the massive distribution markets of the Midwest.
Sustainability and Innovation – Utah’s inland port begins with a focus on sustainable and smart logistics, development, and practices to put it at the forefront of innovation and attract capital and high value jobs.
Holistic – Partnerships with local communities will provide holistic support through workforce development, after school childcare, transit, and other key programs.
Statewide – Development of a statewide inland port system ensures efficiencies and value for both rural and urban communities.
Logistics is the process of moving goods from its point of origin to the point of consumption within a supply chain. As the backbone of the economy, logistics can largely be invisible to everyday life but is critical to managing growth. Logistics infrastructure includes highways, warehousing and distribution centers, manufacturing plants, railways, and airports.
Logistics infrastructure in Utah links producers and consumers together through a global supply chain network. From sourcing raw materials, manufacturing, inventory, handling, customs inspection and processing, information and data storage, and warehousing, logistics moves the economy. A combination of air delivery services, rail operations, ocean shipping, and truck transportation move these materials and products and connect communities across the state to the rest of the world.