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Seattle port budget stresses economic and environmental sustainability

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The Port of Seattle’s preliminary budget and finance plan for 2011 pegs nearly $500 million in capital projects while maintaining the the port’s tax levy at $73.5 million.

The budget also invests over $9 million in transportation infrastructure and $11.6 million in environmental projects.

“Generating jobs, protecting our environment, and holding taxes flat – those are our priorities and they are reflected in this budget,” said Commission President Bill Bryant.

Dollars from the port’s tax levy are invested in capital and environmental projects as well as freight mobility projects that improve access to port facilities. The port also uses these funds to put noise insulation in schools around Sea-Tac Airport and to support facilities such as Fishermen’s Terminal, the home of the North Pacific Fishing Fleet.

Projects funded in the 2011 budget include:

  • Pre-conditioned air project: Sea-Tac Airport is building a pre-conditioned air facility that will allow planes to plug into centralized air, rather than running engines or diesel generators to power plane operations while at the gate.  The project is expected to reduce emissions by 50,000 metric tons each year – the equivalent of removing 8,700 cars from the road.
  • Congestion relief: The port is investing nearly $8 million in projects like the East Marginal Way grade separation, and FAST Corridor projects in Auburn and Kent.
  • Environmental investments: Over $9 million will be invested in the Green Port Initiative, a comprehensive program implementing storm water treatment, energy conservation, and emission reduction programs across port facilities.

The port’s 2011 budget proposes operating revenues of $498.5 million and operating expenses of $282.8 million. Net Operating Income is $215.7 million. Depreciation Expense is budgeted at $160.5 million. Net Operating Income after Depreciation is $55.2 million. The total capital budget for 2011 is $385.1 million and the five-year capital improvement program is $1.5 billion, which “reflects the port’s continuing commitment to promoting regional economic activity through the investment in the development, expansion, and renewal of Port facilities that supports the port’s Business Plan and Green Initiative.”

Port Executive Director Tay Yoshitani said, “Despite some signs of renewed economic growth during the first half of this year, we anticipate only modest growth in Port operating revenues in 2011. We also expect costs to increase next year — particularly in employee benefits, deferred maintenance at existing facilities, and certain initiatives focused on maintaining our competitiveness and positioning the Port for future growth.”

He continued: “The Seaport expects growth from container volumes, crane rental and lease revenues to drive 2011 operating revenue up 5% relative to the 2010 budget. Container volumes are expected to increase about 12% compared to initial 2010 budgeted volume, but that increase will be slightly offset by a decrease in Cruise revenue; the current schedule for 2011 cruise ship calls forecasts a 6% decline in passenger numbers.”

The port’s total 2010 forecast is for total container volume (international and domestic) to increase 28.2 percent over 2009 to 1.88 million TEUs; but the port is budgeting a sharp decline (9.3 percent) in container volume to 1.7 million TEUs in 2011

“Critical 2011 Seaport initiatives include developing a stewardship plan for key division assets, implementing a Green Gateway strategy, and developing near- and long-term strategies for increasing revenues,” Yoshitani said. “Through ongoing commitment to cost control, the port is forecast to end 2010 in the black with a net income of $53 million.”

Here’s the port’s 2011 Preliminary Budget Book 1.

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Written by William DiBenedetto

10 December, 2010 at 2:00 am

Posted in alternative energy

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