Are two authorities better than one?

Published 12:00 am Friday, July 25, 2003

What? You don't have your own port authority? It's the latest rage; everyone is getting one. Now it looks as if Ironton and Lawrence County may eventually have two such creatures.

Forgive us for being a little flippant about the issue, but we could not help chuckling a bit this week as both the City of Ironton and the Lawrence County Commissioners rushed to discuss and then adopt port authorities.

We were not chuckling at the idea of creating a port authority just the sudden announcements. Apparently both the city and the Lawrence Economic Development Corporation have been considering starting port authorities for some time, but the back-to-back discussions made the issue seem as if it was a sprint to the port authority finish line.

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However, this issue is a serious one - one with huge potential implications. Both entities have good reasons to create port authorities. The benefits of having a port authority are well known. Unlike a government agency, a port authority can, in many ways act as privately operated entity.

A port authority can sell and lease property with much more ease and less red tape than almost any arm of government. Along with the port authority, a foreign trade zone can be created providing great benefit to many international businesses. Almost all of the benefits could prove huge factors in luring business to the area.

We wish both the city, county and the LEDC could find a way to always work closely together and communicate on such matters, but apparently that is difficult to do. We must find a way to see how we all benefit from working together.

Neither side is apparently blameless, however, somehow, some way, we must build a bridge between the various groups. Unfortunately, that task may be more difficult that building a span across the Ohio River.

If two heads are better than one, perhaps two port authorities may be better than one, too? Only time will tell for sure.