Bill would look at merging ports

by Tim Flanagan on January 28, 2009

Here’s a tidbit from the Seattle Daily Journal of Commerce:

OLYMPIA — The state would do a feasibility study of merging the ports in Puget Sound under a bill proposed Friday in the state Legislature.

House Bill 1421 would mandate a year-long study to determine if creating a Puget Sound port authority would make Washington state more competitive. A five-year plan to reorganize the ports and a peer index documenting the performance of other ports would be part of the study.

I figured I should learn a bit more about this. Here’s a page at the Washington State Legislature website that provides some more background, price and the actual text of the bill, which I’ll include here:

HOUSE BILL 1421
State of Washington 61st Legislature 2009 Regular Session
By Representatives Anderson, Hasegawa, Chandler, Eddy, and White
Read first time 01/21/09. Referred to Committee on Local Government & Housing.

AN ACT Relating to a feasibility study of a Puget Sound port
authority; and creating a new section.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF WASHINGTON:
NEW SECTION. Sec. 1. The Washington state institute for public
policy shall conduct a feasibility study of creating a Puget Sound port
authority. The purpose of the study is to determine whether creation
of an integrated and unified port authority will meet and exceed the
operational productivity and financial performance metrics of global
and domestic peer ports as well as provide value to taxpayers through
economies of scale and administrative efficiencies. Within one year of
the effective date of this section, the institute shall submit to the
governor and legislature a feasibility study detailing how a Puget
Sound port authority that includes the boundaries of a port district
located in a county with a population of one million five hundred
thousand persons or more and any port district located in an adjoining
county with a population of over five hundred thousand persons will
significantly enhance Washington state’s global marine, air, and rail
freight transportation competitiveness with other global and domestic ports and increase international trade commerce providing broad
economic benefits to the citizens of the state. The study must
include, but is not limited to, the following elements:

(1) An analysis of the management and operational structure of port
districts included in the boundaries of a Puget Sound port authority
and how a reorganization plan can be implemented in a phased manner
over a five-year period;

(2) How a Puget Sound port authority will maximize and expand
freight transportation capital facilities to significantly increase
global marine, air, and rail freight transportation infrastructure
capacity, including performance metrics to assess capital facilities
utilization and productivity;

(3) How a Puget Sound port authority can include the evaluation and
application of environmental technologies and practices to mitigate
potential adverse impacts;

(4) Recommendations on development of a strategic global marketing
plan to increase global and domestic market share for North American
markets for both inbound and outbound global freight transportation
traffic volume and commodity dollar value, including clearly
identifiable targeted markets and market penetration performance goals
and metrics; and

(5) The institute shall develop a peer index of global and national
ports documenting past traffic volume and forecast traffic volume over
the next ten years, overseas marketing networks both inbound and
outbound, services offered, and financial performance over the past ten
years. This index must be used by the institute to evaluate the
possible future performance of a Puget Sound port authority.

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