$23M in Grants Available for Ohio River Cargo Operations

LISBON, Ohio – Businesses along the Ohio River in Columbiana County could qualify for up to $23 million in funding for projects that enhance maritime cargo operations.

The Ohio Maritime Assistance Program, or MAP, was announced Monday by the Ohio Department of Transportation, according to Penny Traina, CEO of the Columbiana County Port Authority. Traina advised the port authority’s board of directors about the new funding source during its meeting Monday evening.

The infrastructure grants are being made available to eligible Ohio port authorities, and Columbiana County’s is one of only two public ports located on the Ohio River, Traina explained.

Off the $23 million, Traina said $11 million will be available in fiscal year 2020 and $12 million in fiscal year 2021.

A 50% local match will be required of businesses applying for the funding, Traina said, adding that all private businesses on the Ohio River in the county have been notified the funding is available and encouraged to submit proposals to the port authority, which will administer the funding.

Applicants must have a written business justification for the investment indicating the operational and market need for the project. Among the evaluation criteria are the degree to which the proposed project will increase the efficiency or capacity of maritime cargo terminal operations, whether the project will result in new types of cargo or an increase in cargo volume, whether the project will meet an identified supply chain need or benefit Ohio exporters and importers, the readiness of the project to request bids within 180 days of the grant award and the amount of the proposed local match.

Funding can be used for land acquisition and site development for marine cargo terminal; construction of wharves, quay walls, jetties, shipping channels and dredge disposal facilities; construction and repair of warehouses, transit sheds, railroad tracks, roadways, gates, fencing, bridges and other improvements; acquisition of cargo handling equipment; and planning and design services or other construction services.

Traina said 17 companies that operated businesses along the Ohio River between Wellsville and East Liverpool were notified about the availability of the funding.

In other financial matters, Traina told the board, “As I look at 2020, I feel confident the port authority is on a much better slope financially,” saying it has a “healthy balance” of $5 million and “everything is on an equal balance.”

She also reported to the board that she has been chosen as a trustee for the Columbiana County Community Improvement Corp.

The CIC’s available funding changes from year to year, but she told the board it is hoped funding will be available this year to assist new and growing companies in the county.

Traina also unveiled 28 laminated photographs of Port Authority properties, area industries and resolutions and proclamations provided to the agency over the years by various county, state and federal officials.

Columbiana County Port Authority CEO Penny Traina,, board attorney Timothy Brookes and secretary Nick Amato check out photographs decorating the walls at the agency’s Lisbon office.

The 16-by-20 colored photographs were taken with a drone and laminated by Nick Cool at Image Works in Salem and are now showcased in the training room and hallways at the Port Authority building.

Also shared with the board was information about two events hosted by the Youngstown/Warren Regional Chamber that will connect suppliers and officials from Lordstown Motors Corp. 

Plant contractors and service providers can attend the facility supplier and procurement event Jan. 29, while vehicle components and production providers can attend the automotive supplier procurement event Feb. 4. Both events will be from 8-10 a.m. at Stambaugh Auditorium. Tickers are $15 and $25 fee for nonmembers. 

“We want Columbiana County suppliers to be aware of this,” Traina emphasized.

During Monday’s meeting, officers elected were Charlie Presley as chairman, Keith Chamberlin as vice chairman, Nick Amato as secretary and Tad Herold as fiscal officer.

Pictured above: The Ohio River at East Liverpool, Ohio. Image: Wikipedia.

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