Poll shows overwhelming opposition to inland port among Salt Lake City voters


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Salt Lake City voters are massively opposed to the inland port project in the city’s northwest quadrant according to a new Utah Political Trends poll.

The survey from UtahPolicy.com and Y2 Analytics finds nearly 6 in 10 voters in Utah’s capital city believe the State Legislature overstepped their authority to take over the development of the inland port. Another 58% say the inland port should not be developed, while just over half say the port will ruin the quality of life in Salt Lake City.

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Late in the 2018 legislative session, lawmakers passed a bill creating the Inland Port Authority, giving the entity control of about 16,000 acres. Following the passage of the bill, Salt Lake City attempted to negotiate with the legislature to make changes, but those talks suddenly broke down when Mayor Jackie Biskupski broke off negotiations. Later, the city council, led by Erin Mendenhall, successfully worked out changes to the agreement.

Later, Biskupski announced she was suing the legislature challenging the legality of the port.

Since the creation of the Inland Port Authority, protesters have disrupted the organization’s meetings over the impact the facility will have on the environment and air quality in Salt Lake City.

The survey also found that just under half of Salt Lake City voters said the inland port would not be good for the future of Salt Lake City. Voters are split over whether the city council did the right thing by cooperating with the state legislature to find a compromise on the port.

Despite their opposition to the inland port, Salt Lake City voters overwhelmingly picked City Council member Erin Mendenhall as the city’s next mayor, even though she played a central role in negotiating a compromise with the legislature over the facility.

Biskupski, one of the port’s most vociferous opponents, endorsed Mendenhall’s opponent, Luz Escamilla ahead of the general election. Biskupski praised Escamilla for voting against the inland port and blistered Mendenhall for helping to facilitate the compromise. But, that endorsement did not help Escamilla as Mendenhall ran away with the election last week.

Republican voters, a decided minority in Salt Lake City, believe the port will be more beneficial for the city, while independents and Democrats are against the facility.

  • 62% of “strong” Republicans feel the the Port should be developed. 72% of that group believe the port is good for the long-term future of Salt Lake City and 61% believe it will not ruin Salt Lake City’s quality of life.
  • 57% of moderate Republicans believe it’s the right move to develop the Inland Port. 61% say the Port is good for the long-term future of the city, and 2/3 (66%) don’t think it will ruin the long-term quality of life in the city.

Solid majorities of independent and Democratic voters disagree, feeling the port should not have been developed and would damage the long-term future of the city.

The survey from Y2 Analytics was conducted October 16-22, 2019 among 751 likely Salt Lake City voters with a margin of error +/- 3.6 percentage points.