Area residents offered their thoughts yesterday on the Cleveland Port Authority's plan to advance Northeast Ohio's economy. ideastream's economics reporter Tasha Flournoy explains how the public views the port's move in a new direction.
About 100 people gathered at Tri-C's metro campus listened as port officials described their plan to increase cargo capacity and expand the port's role as an economic engine.
A week after the strategy was officially released; some board members were disappointed only 19 speakers voiced their opinion. Groups such as the First Suburbs and the League of Women Voters came out to support the economic plan albeit with questions. Some said they were concerned about the vagueness of the port's plan to go green and questioned the assertion that the port will contribute $2 billion in private investments that would lead to about 50,000 high-paying jobs.
Businessman Shaw Abrams thinks the port needs to allocate money to expand the width and depth of its waterways to bring in more maritime economy. He recalled seeing the congestion at a railroad bridge between Lake Erie and the Cuyahoga River.
Shaw Abrams: I watched a ship wait for 45 minutes for the bridge to go up. I can't imagine that any company with fuel prices the way they are could afford to sit there for 45 minutes to wait for a railroad to you know come by.
The port is still seeking public comment either by postcard or on its web site. The board hopes to finalize the economic strategy this fall.
Tasha Flournoy, 90.3.