Ohio Ports Eligible for $23 Million in Development Funding
Courtesy of The Waterways Journal
A new program — the Ohio Maritime Assistance Program program — is providing funding to ports along the Ohio River and Lake Erie or businesses within ports.
The Program began accepting applications from ports in late January and will continue through March 27. The program is making available $11 million through June 30 and an additional $12 million for the 12 months ending June 30, 2021.
“It’s an Ohio Port Authority-driven program that is directed primarily at port authorities that do waterfront or water port operations, doing business either on the Ohio River or the Great Lakes,” said Mark Locker, the manager of maritime, freight and logistics for the Ohio Department of Transportation’s office of statewide planning and research.
Ports may apply for the funding for themselves, for businesses located with the port authority’s boundaries or, when a port’s charter allows, other nearby related businesses. The competitive grant program also requires a 50-50 match from the port or business benefitting from the funding.
To be eligible, a port authority must own an active cargo terminal on either the Ohio River or Lake Erie. It must also be a federally designated economic opportunity zone with a stevedoring operation. Locker said the state has identified 27 ports that appear to qualify for the funds, so dozens of businesses operating within those ports could benefit.
The legislation creating the program is unique in that the funds are coming from the state of Ohio to the Department of Transportation instead of being federal pass-through funds. That means the funding can be used for in-the-water assets, unlike most federal funding, Examples he gave for eligible projects included land acquisition, construction and repair of warehouses, railroad tracks, roadways, gates, fencing, wharfs, dredging, acquisition of cargo handling equipment, mobile shore cranes, stationary cranes, craneways, conveyors, bulk handling equipment, ship loading and unloading equipment and planning and design costs.
“We are going to give priority, at least for this round, to construction-ready projects,” Locker said. “We want to make sure this money is spent on projects that are ready to go.”
Applications should demonstrate how a project will increase operational capacity of the cargo terminal and how that will attract new business.
DOT officials have met with port authorities for the past six months to talk about developing projects that might fit the program, Locker said.
For more information or to apply, visit maritime.ohio.gov and look under the Maritime Assistance Program section on the web page.
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