As part of a first-of-its-kind cooperative agreement, the American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA) and the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration (MarAd) have teamed up to develop a port investment plan toolkit that will help port authorities create investment-quality infrastructure development plans in order to attract public and/or private capital to fund their infrastructure projects.
Once completed, the toolkit will be available in the public domain. It will include, among other things, guidance on writing grant applications, methods to analyze a project’s economic benefits and examples of best practices.
First however, the association and MarAd are looking 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. 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.
According to Jean Godwin, AAPA’s executive vice president and coordinator for the toolkit endeavor, the goal of this project is to develop materials that will assist ports in obtaining funding in a variety of ways. She said upon completion, port authorities should be able to use the toolkit to: (1) improve their chances of getting port infrastructure projects in metropolitan planning organization and state transportation plans in order to better compete for funding; (2) better position their projects for federal funding such as Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grants; and (3) 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.”
The view AAPA’s Request for Technical Assistance announcement for experts to help with the toolkit project, click here.
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