Seaports Magazine - Winter 2015 - (Page 14)
CITIES COUNTIES AND STATES
Regional government plays an important role in port capital planning.
By Lori Musser
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
Port Everglades' CEO Steve Cernak
said a direct county-based governance
Duluth Seaway Port Authority, an
independent, public agency.
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prevents many of the problems previously
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
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.
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,"
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
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