Port Authority Analyzing Options After Levy Failure

The Port of Cleveland is assessing its options after Cuyahoga County rejected a $90 million tax levy.

Officials from the Port of Cleveland say they are assessing "the message from voters" after Cuyahoga County rejected a tax levy that would have helped improve the port's vital maritime infrastructure.

County voters rejected the levy by a solid majority, with 285,301 voting against it, or about 57 percent, and 218,215 voting for it, or about 43 percent, according to unofficial results.

In a letter by Port Chairman Robert Smith and CEO William Friedman, stressed the importance of the levy, which would have raised about $90 million over five years.

Port officials say the projects associated with the levy money would have brought jobs and economic development to the region.

"The levy proposal included capital investments critical for jobs in our community that depend on the Cuyahoga River ship channel," SMith and Friedman write. "Those jobs and all the uses that depend on the river - from manufacturing to rowing - could be jeopardized if we don't make needed fixes to landside and channel infrastructure."

They emphasize that the levy failure will not jeopardize the port's day-to-day operations.

Smith and Friedman said port officials will discuss whether they plan to put the levy on the ballot in the near future.

"We want the public to know our commitment today is the same as it was yesterday: To solve maritime infrastructure problems, serve as a steward of the ship channel, and create civic assets that will invigorate our waterfronts today and leave a legacy for tomorrow. We will redouble our efforts to communicate with the community, partner with stakeholders, and forge another path."         


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