July 2, 2012

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Built to Lead

Perhaps no Utah governor in modern memory comes to the office with a broad...Read More

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Article

If You Build It

A Strong Infrastructure Makes Doing Business in Utah a Breeze

Marie Mischel

July 2, 2012

The Forbes ranking measured six categories: costs, labor supply, regulatory environment, current economic climate growth prospects and quality of life.

In the costs category, Utah has the second-lowest electric utility rates across all sectors (commercial, industrial, residential and transportation) and the 10th lowest natural gas costs, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

Meanwhile, salaries across all occupations in the Beehive State are 10 percent less than the national average, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and the cost of living is 6 percent below average in Salt Lake City, according to COLI by ACCRA.

Planes, Trains and Automobiles
The Utah Legislature has committed about $3 billion to road improvements throughout the Beehive State, and over the past five years has received $214 million in federal stimulus monies for such improvements as well. For companies like Litehouse Foods, a refrigerated products manufacturer based in Idaho that opened a facility in Hurricane last May, that commitment is critical.

Each day, eight to 10 refrigerated trucks roll up to the Litehouse Foods building, which is located about 2.5 miles from Interstate 15, bringing in raw material and carrying out packaged goods, says Director of Operations John Shaw, who adds that access to the interstate and the condition of the roads were probably among the top five reasons the company chose to locate in Hurricane.

The expansion of St. George’s airport also has benefited Litehouse. Prior to its completion, executives flew into Las Vegas and rented a car for the trip to Utah; now they land less than an hour from the facility.

In addition, the new location has expanded Litehouse’s shipping options, Shaw says. “We’re looking at railway heads for some of our inbound raw materials that come in tankers.”

That Litehouse Inc. is investigating the use of rail lines doesn’t surprise EDCUtah’s Edwards. Utah is the first place that all of the eastbound rail lines from the West Coast converge, he says, and “that’s been a strong competitive factor for us. The same is true of the highways. We’re centrally located. We’re a day’s drive from California.”

An additional boost to Utah’s infrastructure is scheduled to start in mid-2013, when the Salt Lake City International Airport begins its multi-year facilities renovation. The $2 billion project will replace the airport’s aging facilities, some of which are 50 years old. More than 20 million people pass through the gates each year, and the reconstruction project “presents us with an opportunity to express our ascendancy in a number of ways,” including innovative design and construction methods, said Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker in his 2012 State of the City address. “Visitors to the airport should experience a wonderful gateway to Salt Lake City, to our State and to the Intermountain West.”

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