Port directors from throughout the United States converged on San Diego in early February for a national port summit at the invitation of Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and the Maritime Administration. According to the Port of San Diego, the event marked the first time a secretary of transportation had convened a special summit for port industry issues specifically.
The Port of Portland’s executive director, Bill Wyatt, attended the conference and said Secretary LaHood recognized the value of the nation’s ports as economic engines for sustainable jobs and growth, and that LaHood offered his leadership in representing ports in upcoming federal transportation legislation. “He invited all West Coast ports to bring together our best ideas for a national port strategy and pledged to be our biggest advocate in Washington D.C. in the next surface transportation bill,” said Wyatt.
Though the Port did not receive a Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery, or TIGER, grant earlier this year, the city of Portland received $23.2 million for transportation infrastructure improvement in the south waterfront area. The secretary said there will be another grant application process for an additional pool of $600 million for TIGER-like grants that the Port will pursue.
The day-and-a-half summit included panel discussions on The Future of the American Port and Freight Network, Improved Sustainability, and State of Good Repair. Each panel included port industry participation and was followed by table discussions on challenges and recommendations.