Thursday, March 31, 2016

Utah State Legislature invests in port process

A proposal for four counties to purchase interest in a port took a step forward as the Utah Legislature passed Senate Bill 246, which would allow for some $53 million in state sales tax to be utilized for a throughput infrastructure project. The money would then be reimbursed through the Utah Permanent Community Impact Fund Board.

The bill was specifically designed to smooth the process for funding a deepwater port in Oakland, Calif., which would be used to ship commodities produced in Utah to the rest of the globe. However, since the port is also tied to coal, some groups have voiced opposition to it.

The proposal to build a port with money from Utah’s CIB began a year ago when the funding, in the form of a loan, was approved for four counties — Sevier, Sanpete, Carbon and Emery — to purchase an interest in a port under development in Oakland. Revenue generated by shipping through the port would be used to pay back the CIB, which after the passage of SB 246, would have already reimbursed the state treasury. Richfield Reaper