Governor Bob McDonnell issued the following statement after a vote by the Virginia Port Authority to restructure its business operations and to decline private-sector proposals to assume operation of the port.
"Today, the Virginia Port Authority Board completed its review of private proposals to assume operations at the port, pursuant to Virginia's Public-Private Transportation Act, as well as a proposal to significantly restructure the current operations and organization of the Virginia Port Authority (VPA) and Virginia International Terminals. The VPA has determined that the Commonwealth should focus on the major restructuring the current operations, organization, strategy and leadership and to end the unsolicited proposals under the Public-Private Transportation Act. I thank them for their work and in following my directive to conduct a thorough review of all prudent proposals and to do what is right for the taxpayers.
"In the coming days, the Secretary of Transportation and I intend to review the letter and materials sent to me by VPA Chairman Fralin regarding the board's action. After that review is completed, I will issue a statement regarding my position on the board's actions.
"As I have stated for some time, I appointed a board with the experience and ability to review and make an independent assessment of the merits of the pending proposals. The board has now made that assessment. I created a brand new board with one mission: make the port operate more effectively and profitably, and make it the best on the East Coast.
"The board has completed significant operational and management improvements in the port in recent months. The Secretary of Transportation has worked closely with the board to enable them the flexibility, information, and support to improve business operations, enhance marketing and attract new investments. This has already resulted in increases in port volume. Working closely with the General Assembly, we have also passed legislation that will improve port business practices that recognize it is an economic engine for the region and the entire Commonwealth, and to increase membership on the board to reflect that recognition. By providing the port powers of an industrial development authority, the port is better positioned to reform, to grow and the additional leadership on the board will help guide it through that process.
"We all share the goal of ensuring that taxpayers receive the best possible return on investment in Virginia's world-class port facilities, and that the Port of Virginia assumes its place among the top shipping facilities in the country."