Utah has led the nation in population growth rates over the past decade. For many Utahns, this is great news as many of these new Beehive State residents have strengthened our local economy and increased state revenues and investments. 

While one cannot blame more people for wanting to call our beautiful state home, Utah’s growth does come with unintended consequences and challenges. From ensuring we have ample affordable housing to securing our state’s energy grid and the natural resources needed to power our economy and way of life, Utah must find ways to solve the challenges we face. 

In February 2022, I co-authored a piece in the Deseret News titled “These 10 Things Will Help Utah Prosper and Grow.” As noted previously, Utah is rapidly growing, and its population also has the nation’s youngest median age at 30.5 years and its highest average household size of 3.19. These figures underscore an even higher need for sustainable growth.

In the article, my co-author and I identified removing excessive zoning laws and streamlining our permitting reform system, as well as investing in infrastructure, as critical ways we can help promote commonsense, sustainable growth. Reducing needless red tape will attract more coastal-based employers to bring jobs here and can help boost Utah’s energy innovation and output — including clean energy projects. Strong infrastructure will reduce congestion, enhance the state’s economic productivity, drive increased tourism, and encourage more businesses to come and stay here. 

There are at least five specific benefits of infrastructure and permitting reform worth noting: 

Speeding up project development

By streamlining the permitting process, infrastructure and permitting reform can reduce the time it takes to develop new projects here in Utah, helping to bring them online faster.

Reducing costs

The permitting process can be costly and time consuming, and reform can help reduce these costs by reducing the number of permits required, simplifying regulations and making the process more efficient.

Attracting investment

A streamlined permitting process can make it easier for businesses to invest in new projects, which then creates new jobs and drives economic growth and environmental sustainability here in Utah.

Encouraging innovation

A more efficient permitting process can help to facilitate new ideas and technologies, enabling innovation to flourish in the Beehive State.

Enhancing public trust

Improved transparency, stakeholder engagement, and a clear and efficient permitting process can help build public trust in government and regulatory processes, enhancing the legitimacy of the permitting system and reducing conflict between project proponents and stakeholders.

Luckily, Utahans have one of the strongest voices in our nation’s capital advocating on our behalf for these issues in Sen. Mitt Romney.

Romney continues to lead by example in threading the needle when it comes to finding solutions that promote sustainable economic growth. Romney believes in removing unnecessarily burdensome government regulations that delay — and even cancel — both residential and commercial projects. Moreover, he understands that we must continue to invest in our state’s infrastructure to accommodate a growing population to ensure our state will continue to be enjoyed for generations of Utah residents and tourists. That’s why he helped Salt Lake City International Airport secure $29 million in grant funding and the state of Utah receive $12 million in water infrastructure upgrades

Utah’s future is bright, and our best days are ahead. Let us work together to ensure we embrace common sense solutions to the challenges we face and continue working toward a stronger, sustainable and more prosperous future. 

Douglas Hervey is a partner at Cicero Group and leads its health care and private equity practice.