AAPA and US Department of Transportation join forces to spur port investment

  • Development of port investment plan toolkit will help US ports attract public and private capital

The American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA) and the US Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration (MarAd) will embark on a joint project to help the country’s ports attract further public and private investment.

As part of a first-of-its-kind cooperative agreement, the two parties will team up to develop a port investment plan toolkit setting out clear guidelines for ports to create investment-quality infrastructure development plans.

The AAPA and MarAd will look to recruit technical experts from ports and firms engaged in port planning, financing and development who are willing to contribute their expertise to the production of a number of toolkit components. This will include, among other things, guidance on writing grant applications, methods to analyse a project’s economic benefits and examples of best practices.

Furthermore, the AAPA will also hire a contractor, through a separate process, to conduct focus groups and other meetings of these technical experts to develop the toolkit. Once completed, the toolkit will be available in the public domain.

The goal of this project is to develop materials that will assist ports in obtaining funding in a variety of ways, according to Jean Godwin, AAPA’s executive vice president and coordinator for the toolkit endeavour. She said upon completion, port authorities should be able to use the toolkit to better compete for funding, better position their projects for federal funding such as Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grants, and help assist them in obtaining private sector funding.

“The components we envision for this toolkit will help ports make more compelling economic arguments to compete for government grants and private-sector funding opportunities,” she said.

“By providing ports with guidance on how to clearly identify their future needs and proposing the most cost-effective, sustainable and efficient solutions for their projects, the result should be an ‘investment grade’ plan that helps develop needed infrastructure and facilities.”

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