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Area port authority producing revenue

August 3, 2011
By ANGELINA DICKSON - Special to the Herald-Star ( , The Herald-Star

WEIRTON - After months of work to organize the operations of the Weirton Area Port Authority, the leading public port authority in the West Virginia Northern Panhandle Logistics Catchment Area, revenue growth has been reported.

Chairman B.J. DeFelice said the quasi-public port business unit, Weirton Area Port Authority Inc., has exceeded all expectations across its assigned key performance indicators as reported during the port's public meeting last week, and as a result has begun producing revenue.

The area of growth that the board remains extremely proud of, said DeFelice, is the planned revenue sharing commitment to the community. Simplified, he said, for every dollar the port generates, a percentage of that generated revenue is shared with the city for its participation in the port program.

During the meeting, which was transmitted worldwide over the Internet from the County Road Fire Station, DeFelice reported sustainable growth across the established performance indicators for the quarter ending June 30.

DeFelice presented further details to the board and public about the various governance structures, projects and budgetary items in development supporting the ongoing design and construction for its all-wireless 4G, fiber-based Port-to-Port OneNet communications network.

"The port's OneNet will interconnect designated Logistics Catchment Areas in the Northern and Eastern Panhandles of West Virginia and will encompass the established High Technology I-79 Corridor in North Central West Virginia," he said. "The Port's OneNet network is being developed under full compliance of the Department of Homeland Security's OneNet and SAFECOM Initiatives."

Generating revenue is an incentive now and is starting to show the dividends of the hard work the community has and continues to provide, said DeFelice. The port authority has been accepted into and remains involved with two strategic growth assistance support programs, one being a federal assistance program and the other a regional assistance program, which is expected to grow over time as the business, technical and financial models become further established and understood.

"We still have a lot of good old-fashioned roll-up-our-sleeves work in order to accomplish the development of our operational budgets and forecasting capabilities; however, with our growing base of volunteers, sponsors, seasoned industry mentors and working groups, we continue making significant progress toward this goal," he added.

"The bottom line is our self-funded, fee-for-service port concept of operations plan is producing clear and measurable results for our community and continues to demonstrate economic development producing sustainable job growth in the near and reaching future for the Northern Panhandle of West Virginia."

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