Home News Inland port’s effort to snatch up LDS Church property throws wrench into plan to improve air, traffic

Inland port’s effort to snatch up LDS Church property throws wrench into plan to improve air, traffic

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The allegations of a land expropriation duel against church-owned property in the inland port confused plans to improve the quality of life of the inhabitants of the western part of Salt Lake City.

Utah Inland Port Authority Board of Directors Vote on May 19th Purchase or blame 41 acres owned by the Suburban Land Reserve, the real estate sector of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The vacant lot lies between Interstate Highway 80 and the railway lines about 6 south and 5600 west.

Port authorities argued that swift action was needed to protect land and public funding opportunities.

The Utah Department of Transportation has already worked with a small Utah-based railroad company a few years ago to improve traffic, air quality, and noise pollution issues around Popraglobe in Salt Lake City. It turned out that he had secured the funds for. neighborhood.

Just days after the Port Commission approved the resolution to acquire the land, Salt Lake Garfield and Western Railways (SLGW) filed a land expropriation proceeding in the Third District Court on May 24.

“The land is important,” said John Fenton, CEO of. Patriot railSLGW’s parent company, “Move forward to do exactly what we want to achieve.”

Founded in 1891, SLGW provides short-term services in Salt Lake City, transporting freight to and from large railroad companies such as Union Pacific and BNSF. Patriot acquired SLGW in January 2021.

How West Cider Benefits

As the company’s rail traffic increases, it has been a headache for people living in the western part of the city, especially in the last decade. SLGW’s rolling stock numbers increased from 3,775 to 6,000 in 2016-2017 alone. This builds trains along the railroads, causing congestion along the intersecting roads.

of Grant application To the US Department of Transportation, SLGW and UDOT insisted on a project they called the “Western Interchange.” The proposal would move most of SLGW’s business to suburban nature reserves, away from the company’s current depot in Popraglove.

Importantly, this project will reduce traffic backup at 800 West, 900 West and 1000 West railroad crossings by up to 90%, in addition to the other six railroad crossings in downtown.

“When the railroad was built in the 1890s, the intersections of those roads did not exist,” Fenton said.

Less movement of the rails at these intersections currently in residential areas will improve safety, generate late-night noise, and reduce emissions from idling vehicles waiting for trains to pass. According to submission to the federal government..

Federal Government Approves UDOT and SLGW Requests in 2018 for $ 13.6 Million Infrastructure to rebuild America Funding for the Western Interchange project. SLGW has promised an additional $ 9.1 million.

Railroad companies also began negotiations to buy assets in suburban nature reserves around that time, court filings show.

SLGW provided $ 5.4 million in cash last July, according to a letter sent to a representative of the church’s real estate holdings. The railroad company then raised its offer to $ 6 million in March.

On April 8, SLGW appears to have received a notice that the church intends to solicit real estate bids instead. At that point, SLGW stated that it had the right to seek land expropriation.

A month later, the railroad company repeated the $ 6 million offer. Shared on May 13th Appraisal $ 3.7 million if there is “appropriate access” and $ 2.2 million if not accessible (property is the highway to the north and the railroad to the south) to demonstrate that the submission is above the market price. Is rated as a landlocked country).

Representatives of suburban nature reserves refused to comment on this story, but they Earlier told Salt Lake Tribune “After a competitive marketing process, the Utah Inland Port Authority was the winning bidder among several stakeholders who made offers on land.”

Questions remain about the relocation of port authorities

It is unclear why the port authorities intervened in the SLGW acquisition plan or how much the port authorities provided to compensate the church for its area.

In an interview last week, port authority Secretary-General Jack Hedge said other buyers would be more willing to raise ponies than SLGW and its parent company Patriot Rail when the suburban reserve opens real estate for bidding. rice field.

“Because we have a public purpose, we were able to play closer to the market than the Patriot was clearly willing to pay or pay,” Hedge said.

Some public figures and Utah institutions Letter issued by support Gary Herbert, Salt Lake Chamber, Utah Transit Authority, Wasatch Front Regional Council for the 2017 UDOT and SLGW Western Interchange projects, including Gov at the time.

However, Hedge said he “did not know” that SLGW was interested in the assets of the suburban nature reserve when the port authorities decided to bid.

(Francisco Kjolseth | Salt Lake Tribune) Shipping containers are transported via rail vehicles at the Union Pacific Intermodal Terminal west of Salt Lake City. Shinnan is the future location of the central transshipment facility of the inland port, as seen on Wednesday, November 10, 2021.

“Our interests and patriots’ interests are, frankly, in perfect agreement,” Hedge said.

A representative of the port authorities declined to comment after SLGW filed a complaint about land expropriation on May 24.

Portboard secured capacity last year Issue bonds up to $ 150 million, Will be repaid as part of the property tax to be collected. The proceedings currently under discussion by the Supreme Court question whether port authorities are entitled to their income.

When asked why port authorities did not exercise land expropriation or attempt to acquire land under the proposed $ 53 million transshipment facility in the heart of the inland port, Hedge said: I answered. You can go for other uses. “

Fenton, CEO of Patriot Rail, said port authorities’ efforts to acquire assets in suburban land reserves could jeopardize SLGW’s federal grants. A UDOT spokesperson said the department’s role was simply to “promote” grants, and it cannot be said whether the loss of SLGW participation would affect the fate of those funds.

“I want to move on. I want to achieve this. We want to be good partners,” Fenton said. “There were a lot of different institutions that worked together to bring that grant together. Hopefully we can go ahead and do the right thing for everyone involved.”

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