‘The Tools to Compete’ Report Compares State-Level Assistance Programs for Great Lakes Commercial Ports
A comparative research analysis evaluating state-level support in six Great Lakes states including Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio and Michigan reveals significant inequities in state investment for commercial port infrastructure compared to coastal ports.
The Tools to Compete: Comparing State-Level Assistance Programs for Great Lakes Commercial Ports is a detailed report comparing commitments to funding public commercial port infrastructure and state-agency operated assistance programs and technical assistance within the Great Lakes region as well as coastal ports in the states of Virginia and Florida.
The Tools to Compete: Comparing State-Level Assistance Programs for Great Lakes Commercial Ports
1) Investment by Coastal States Varies Widely Compared to Great Lakes States
The level of a state’s investment into its ports varies widely among this group of states; Some states contribute through multiple programs, while others do almost nothing. Furthermore, coastal states’ investment into ports outpaces that of the Great Lakes States.
Florida invested $8 more per capita in ports than the six evaluated Great Lakes states combined
- Virginia invested $33 more per capita in ports than the six evaluated Great Lakes states combined
2) Investment by Mode of Transportation Varies Significantly
The main focus of state transportation funding is on other modes, namely surface transport.
312x: On average, Great Lakes states invest 312 times more in highway transportation than waterborne transportation
69x: On average, Great Lakes states invest 69 times more in transit than waterborne transportation
36x: On average, Great Lakes states invest 36 times more in air transportation than waterborne transportation
3) Funding Tools Available to Great Lakes Ports are Absent
Ports in states with access to funding programs can plan further into the future, balance multiple projects at a time, draw federal dollars into the local economy and spur private investment. There is a heavy reliance on competitive federal grants for port infrastructure investment, even in states with robust grant programs. Ports can compete for federal grants easier with access to matching funds at the state and local level.
“Despite their critical economic role, aging infrastructure and infrastructure constraints restrict the capacity of ports in the Great Lakes Region,” said Paul C. LaMarre III, Director, Port of Monroe. “For that reason, the importance of having a broad toolkit available to ports is apparent.”
The Tools to Compete: Comparing State-Level Assistance Programs for Great Lakes Commercial Ports, was conducted by the University of Michigan and Central Michigan undergraduate students.