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Larry Kelley
Port Arthur

Valuation of Public Ports – Communities Context and Public Policy Perspective

Port decision makers today are faced with innumerable challenges including environmental sustainability, economic development, land use and job creation. No port entity exists in a vacuum and most recognize each challenge in the context of a host of stakeholders at the local, state and federal level. For example, at the local level the history of most ports is often intertwined and indiscernible with that of the local community. Regardless of the primacy debate, both port and community are interdependent. Historically ports and cities were created by their proximity to natural resources and simplicity of transportation. Today, as ports and local communities follow the ebb and flow of economic activity and population change, stakeholders are faced with fundamental creation and sustainability issues. How best to make gains in local employment and increase economic value in the context of community sustainability? Port proximate communities are no different than other urban areas, all changing with time. Some are revitalized or gentrified while others embrace the eventuality of secondary land uses. For the most part, it is all related to the function of time. Regardless, port decision makers often find themselves in an un-assignable role affecting urban planning. Typically, port initiated efforts manifest as strategic plans, business opportunities, expansions or modal shifts. The intent is often communicated to promote economic vitality, value creation and jobs in the port and neighboring communities. On occasion the message received by local communities differs. Herein exists an opportunity for further study on how ports are valued. Most port professionals, with an obvious degree of vocational rigor promote that ports are excellent sources of creating economic value as well as jobs locally, regionally and nationally. I set out in this article to provide a systematic approach to assess the economic valuation of ports in the context of community.

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