Support the PortWritten by Tom Pounds | President / Publisher | email@example.com
In our era of high-speed communication and instant gratification, it may seem anachronistic to talk about railroads and ports as an alluring factor in economic development.
But the Oct. 10 Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority’s second annual update to the community highlighted rail as an important part of the region’s ever-lauded potential. The meeting highlighted the Port Authority’s role and emphasizes the importance of its upcoming levy request.
As reported by Toledo Free Press Senior Business Writer Duane Ramsey, Tim Feemster, a national site selector, said Northwest Ohio has many positive factors for attracting new business to the region.
He said site selectors consider financial, strategic, operational and intangible factors when reviewing potential sites.
Transportation is the largest cost (63 percent) of doing business for supply chain operators, he said, noting that our region has all four major forms of transportation: air, sea, rail and roads.
The Port Authority controls two of those transportation modes, operating both local airports, the Port of Toledo on the Maumee River and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Plaza, the city’s train station.
Paul Toth, president and CEO of the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority, said the Port Authority wants to add $350,000 to the Community Economic Development Initiative in Northwest Ohio, which has already provided $2.1 million in grants and low-interest loans. The office will continue to pursue New Markets Tax Credits to support community development projects, such as the Ironville site.
The Port Authority and Midwest Terminals have invested $118 million of public and private funds in the development of the water side of the 180-acre Ironville Terminal. In 2014, they plan to invest another $15 million in the development of the 110 acres on the dry side at Ironville.
Toth said the Port Authority wants to build on the 2013 success at Toledo Express Airport that has included six straight months of passenger increases and two new cargo operators there. It invested $11 million to resurface the longest runway while making upgrades to the airport terminal and parking lots.
The Port Authority is seeking a renewal of the property tax levy that expires next year with Issue 1 on the November ballot. The 0.4-mill renewal, collected at 1994 property values, would cost the owner of a $100,000 home $6.60 per year and generate approximately $2.1 million annually.
Levy funds are used primarily to leverage state and federal funds to support job creation, according to the Port Authority. It reports that for every $1 of levy funds, it brings $8 in outside money into Lucas County.
There are a number of important levies on the November ballot; in terms of economic development and strong stewardship of public funds, the Port Authority levy is the most critical and fully deserves your “yes” vote.
Thomas F. Pounds is president and publisher of Toledo Free Press and Toledo Free Press Star. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tags: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Plaza, Ironville, Ironville Terminal, Maumee River, New Markets Tax Credits, Port Authority and Midwest Terminals, Port of Toledo, Toledo Express Airport, Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority