The first section of a new go-to manual released yesterday, called the Funding Strategy guide, is aimed at helping U.S. port authorities plan and pay for critical infrastructure projects.
Developed in collaboration between the American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA), the U.S. Department of Transportation, Maritime Administration (MARAD), PFM Group of Orlando, Fla., and a host of port industry experts, the Funding Strategy guide addresses the need for a comprehensive resource that addresses innovative ways and best practices for funding and financing major port capital improvements.
The analytical tools and guidance contained in this multi-faceted document are designed to aid ports in developing “investment-grade” project plans to attract public and private investment dollars.
The guide is the first module of what is being called the Port Planning and Investment Toolkit (PPIT), which is an ongoing initiative to help U.S. seaports obtain much-needed funding for freight transportation, facility and other port-related improvement projects.
Future toolkit modules will further assist ports in developing capital plans that clearly identify their future needs; determine the most cost-effective, sustainable and efficient solutions to port challenges; get port infrastructure projects into Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) and state transportation programs to qualify for formula funding; and position port projects for federal funding such as TIGER (Transportation Investments Generating Economic Recovery) grants.
In his keynote address today to AAPA’s 103rd Annual Convention in Houston, Vice President Joe Biden referenced the new toolkit as an important resource to help ports secure the funding needed to improve transportation infrastructure.
“Many ports struggle to attract public and private capital for infrastructure projects, in part because there’s no go-to resource detailing how to describe and justify investment needs,” said Kurt Nagle, AAPA’s president and CEO. “PPIT is that resource.”
Mr. Nagle added that the Funding Strategy module’s main report and related chapters outline strategy processes and steps that have been successfully used in port project financing in the past to attract billions of investment dollars for public port and transportation enterprises. He said ports will be able to use the strategies and practices outlined in the Funding Strategy module to assess a range of financing opportunities.
MARAD joined AAPA last September in signing a cooperative agreement to work together in developing the port investment plan guidance, references and best practices.
“The development and enhancement of our marine transportation system is a crucial component in the continued growth of our nation’s economy,” said Paul ‘Chip’ Jaenichen, Maritime Administrator. “This Administration understands that forward-thinking and planning will enable our ports to further support jobs, trade and commerce for American communities.”