Seaports Magazine - Winter 2015 - (Page 14)

» FEATURE NAVIGATING CITIES COUNTIES AND STATES , Regional government plays an important role in port capital planning. By Lori Musser W hether it is through a multi-million dollar cash injection or a simple nod of approval, some form of buy-in is required from local, regional and state or provincial governments on each and every major seaport capital initiative. To plan, permit, comply, fund and execute a capital project today without government involvement is impossible. Expertise at navigating through the labyrinth of municipal, county and state or provincial approvals and resources, to emerge with an intact or improved project, is increasingly difficult but critical. Usually it starts with good relationships, builds on good communications, proceeds based on a clear understanding of available resources, and succeeds after a crystal clear articulation of eligibility, need and future benefits. However, ports cite various stumbling blocks that can impede projects, often related to multiple layers of government, and include politics, mandated collaborations, a lack of organizational time or project readiness, missing information and a lack of cooperation amongst collaborators. City, County and State Perspectives Port Everglades' CEO Steve Cernak said a direct county-based governance Duluth Seaway Port Authority, an independent, public agency. 14 AAPA SEAPORTS MAGAZINE prevents many of the problems previously mentioned. He said his port invests a great deal of time in articulating its positive impacts and needs, and harmonizing them with county mandates and strategies in order to continually improve freight and passenger mobility and other benefits throughout the county and beyond. He added that county ports like Port Everglades, which is part of Broward County, still have important city, state, federal and international obligations and opportunities, but that it addresses them from a county perspective. Amy Miller, port director at the Port of Pensacola, concurred that ports that have uncomplicated direct-report relationships with a single city, county or state may have it easier when it comes to obtaining approvals and access to resources. While the pools of resources may be more limited, their access is typically straightforward. Miller said the fact that city council members are also her commissioners means that certain resources can be shared and things get done. Directly reporting to the city prioritizes, internalizes and simplifies municipal relations. The Ports of Indiana is a statewide authority operating a system of three ports on the Ohio River and Lake Michigan. It is guided by a bipartisan board appointed by the governor. Jody Peacock, the ports' vice president, said there are also distinct advantages to a state perspective. Aligning port and state strategies allows the two entities to explore new opportunities and enhance economic connections together. In a recently announced initiative, for example, the state of Indiana and the province of Quebec partnered to explore short-sea opportunities. Good Relationships and Communications Outreach programs to port stakeholders, including elected and appointed officials and the entities that they direct, help ports garner input. When the input is used to direct or fine-tune port planning, ports are in a better position to explain that they understand their obligations. Informal and formal mechanisms for information sharing, such as teams and committees, also help set the stage for effective day-to-day interactions between ports and governments. Every aspect of project development, from pulling permits to securing partnership funding to utilizing new capacity can be facilitated. The Duluth Seaway Port Authority is an independent, public agency created by the state to build maritime commerce and related industry. The port commission is composed of state, county and city appointees - a standard mix intended to help optimize benefits for the region and state. Steve Raukar, a long-time port commissioner and also a county commissioner, said, "We work very hard at making sure we have good communications with all units of government and economic development, connecting all of their interests to ultimately expand the economy. It is important that we are all on the same course." Engaging local government and private parties is the starting point for new capital projects. Communications help focus the port's development and attract investment, then help share the accomplishments with broad audiences. "It isn't about the ownership of the success story, but about continuing to expand and sustain the economy and jobs," said Raukar. Raukar described the port's $17.7-million C&D dock project, which is being funded by $10 million in federal TIGER

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Seaports Magazine - Winter 2015

AAPA Headquarters
From the President’s Desk
Expanding Capacity, Increasing Budgets
Navigating Cities, Counties and States
104th AAPA Annual Convention
Strategically Planning for Success
Stick to the Plan
AAPA XXIV Latin American Congress of Ports
Guarding Our Nation’s Ports Against Potential Threats
Keys to Success for Port Capital and Financial Planning
Port Game an Educational Tool – and Fun for All Ages
Port Planning and Investment Toolkit a Go-To Resource
Index of Advertisers

Seaports Magazine - Winter 2015