Say what you will about the merits or problems with state Republicans creating an inland port in northwestern Salt Lake City, Mayor Jackie Biskupski is in the right place politically in strongly opposing it, a new UtahPolicy.com poll shows.

The Dan Jones & Associates survey of only city residents finds:

  • 46 percent “strongly” or “somewhat” oppose the inland port.

  • Only 27 percent support it.

  • And 27 percent “don’t know” how they feel about the project.

 

Biskupski – who is unpopular overall in the city, the new poll shows – is, thus, politically right about fighting against the GOP-controlled Legislature and Republican Gov. Gary Herbert’s setting up an inland port authority on dozens of acres in the currently undeveloped northwestern part of the city, out by the Great Salt Lake.

Many see Biskupski’s intransigence on the project as her looking for an issue for her re-election next year.

Biskupski, a former Democratic Utah House member, has consistently fought the GOP state leaders on the port.

She denies it’s all politics, saying there are really problems with the law rushed through the end of the 2018 Legislature – and modified with help from the Salt Lake City Council this summer.

Last spring, Herbert was close to calling a special session to “fix” the inland port law when, over the weekend just before the session, Biskupski reportedly backed out of the discussions.

Upset over the mayor’s actions, GOP legislators starting talking to the City Council, which themselves have had some major disagreements with the mayor over the last several years.

Biskupski was invited to join those discussions but declined.

She was still out of the loop and opposing various solutions when lawmakers met this summer and adopted fixes to the inland law approved by the City Council.

Just this week Biskupski said the law is “unconstitutional,” and she expects lawsuits to be filed soon. The mayor herself can’t sue – in a slick political move, city council members, in this year’s budget bills, prohibited the mayor from suing on her own over the port.

The new Jones poll shows Biskupski is on the right side of city residents’ feelings on the port – at least for now.

Some of the numbers:

City Republicans like what the GOP Legislature and governor are doing on the port, 55-17 percent, with 28 percent “don’t know.”

City Democrats stand with the mayor and her objections, they oppose the inland port, 57-25 percent, with 18 percent “don’t know.”

Political independents in the city – who don’t belong to any political party – oppose the port, 46-20 percent, with 34 percent “don’t know.”

What an inland port does – and how the Legislature set it up – are technical, and admittedly, confusing matters.

That’s no doubt why that even though the media has been covering the issues closely, so many city residents “don’t know” how they feel about such a port – which basically is a tax-free zone that allows importation of goods, which in turn are taxed/inspected there and then shipped out across the Mountain West.

Jones polled 203 city residents from Aug. 22-Sept. 12. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 6.8 percent.