Probably the two biggest economic development projects that have been envisioned during my time in the Utah Legislature are the moving of the Utah State Prison and the inland port project in Salt Lake City, both of which will lead to massive new economic development opportunities.
I worked hard to help facilitate the process of moving the prison out of the area where our state’s two most populous counties come together, at the Point of the Mountain. Not only will this lead to a significant increase in good, high-tech jobs to employ our growing workforce, but the move will allow for what will become the international inland port in the Northwest Quadrant of Salt Lake City. One of the reasons given in a recent analysis by the Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute for why Salt Lake City is in an ideal position to host a port is the decision to relocate the prison to that area, for which infrastructure is already being built.
The development of an inland port in our capital city is the opportunity of a lifetime and will impact the economy of our entire state. I was the floor sponsor of SB 234, which established the port authority and put in place the governing structure for the area.
I also sponsored legislation, SB 277 (2017) that would issue bonds for the state to be able to more quickly complete the road projects already prioritized by UDOT to allow our transportation infrastructure to catch up to the demands of a flourishing economy. Because we’re already making such large principal reduction payments on current debt, this bonding won’t change our current debt level and our status as one of only nine AAA bond rated states in the nation.