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Best practices for the public sector So, what can community leaders and officials do in terms of laying the groundwork and building a collaborative process to bring good freight facility development to their community in a win-win process? The following lists represent some best practices for successfully engaging in this process. Community representatives, whether they be elected officials, economic development professionals, or in the planning fields, can and must lead the dialogue on what role freight facilities will play in the economic life of the community. Public officials should take positive steps to examine how their community interacts with the freight network and lay the groundwork for mutually beneficial relationships in the future through the processes of learning; examining; and planning, communicating, and educating. Obtaining a full understanding Learning: of a freight facility's potential impacts can lead to higher ;; Becoming educated on the drivers of freight facility siting quality local planning and decisions can help communities effectively plan for such development decisions. facilities. Understanding what drives a company to locate Costs and benefits should be a new freight facility and how the process progresses allows understood and shared among for better conversations when the public and private sectors the parties. come to the table together. ;; Obtaining a full understanding of a freight facility's potential impacts can lead to higher quality local planning and development decisions. Costs and benefits should be understood and shared among the parties. ;; The world of freight movement is a dynamic place. Fuel costs, regulatory changes, and changing consumer tastes all influence the supply chain. Elected officials are best prepared to engage in freight facility discussions when they have the vision to anticipate change. Statewide or regional freight plans can incorporate these elements and use them in policy formation, and local communities can benefit from being familiar with these statewide or regional plans. Freight Facility Location Selection: A Guide for Public Officials 25
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Examining: ;; The community's location on various transportation networks and freight flows will impact the kinds of businesses which will want to locate in the community. If the community is not along the key flow, it will not be a candidate for activity, while communities along key freight flows will experience increased pressures for freight facility development. ;; Other key inputs such as labor force and overall cost environment will also impact the specific activities drawn to an area. This will differ by company, activity, and industry. Communities need to understand which facility types and functions match their own community strengths and provide a competitive advantage. Land use planners need to employ these insights in the ways they situate development and link ...a community's ability to better that development to their locality's networks and resources as position itself can expand its range well as to their community's vision and goals. of prospects. ;; Making the effort to understand what the community has to offer in these key areas allows for more efficient and effective planning. This understanding can also influence private sector siting decisions and lead to improved opportunities for the community. Whether or not a community is even under consideration for a possible facility is often decided long before most local agencies learn of it. Thus, a community's ability to better position itself can expand its range of prospects. Economic development corporations can make a key contribution in sharpening the focus of public planning at both the regional and local levels. Planning, Communicating, and Educating: ;; Communities need to determine where freight and logistics oriented prospects fit into their business attraction program. Whether as a direct target or to support strategies for manufacturing, retail, and other activities, communities must develop freight attraction or support plans. A freight "cluster" may be a possibility if carefully planned. Metropolitan 26 Freight Facility Location Selection: A Guide for Public Officials
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Planning Organizations (MPOs) who want to influence instead of just react to the pattern of freight activity in their jurisdictions should make an attempt to integrate such components to their plans. ;; Institutional silos between economic development, land Our public sector organizations planning, transportation planning, and even between need to collaborate in order for regional governments must be overcome. Freight movement the big picture to be understood and facilities affect and are affected by all of these, and our and for all stakeholders to be public sector organizations need to collaborate in order for "on-board"... Better outcomes the big picture to be understood and for all stakeholders to result from collaboration... be "on-board." ;; Freight movement functions as a system. The infrastructure interacts with the operation, and private infrastructure interacts with public. Better outcomes result from collaboration. Despite the independent decision making of private and public organizations and the difficulty of institutional connections, the parties require interaction just like the system elements. Proactive communication is the first step to arriving at win-win proposals. ;; Identifying areas appropriate for freight facilities in local plans and using zoning and policy tools can help protect a community's ability to support freight operations. Such insightful and multi-jurisdictional planning can also preserve community quality of life and avoid political headaches in the future. ;; An understanding of the costs and benefits of freight facilities also lends public agencies the insight to build incentive, financing, and other credit programs that appropriately engage the private sector. They do so in a way that builds a long-term, mutually beneficial relationship between company and community, balancing gains and costs among the parties. Elected officials intent on bringing jobs to their districts can drive this process and ensure that it meets the needs of their constituents. ;; Freight and logistics activities sustain community life (e.g., many popular consumer goods arrive by truck) and enable community growth, yet these benefits are generally not Freight Facility Location Selection: A Guide for Public Officials 27
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recognized by citizens. Conversely, all citizens can relate to the hazards they attribute to truck traffic. Communicating the Freight and logistics activities vital contribution of freight to our economy and educating sustain community life and other stakeholders and the general public is an important enable community growth, yet part of building collaboration and garnering support. these benefits are generally not Communicating the specific value of proposed projects is recognized by citizens. Conversely, essential to attracting and preserving community or political all citizens can relate to the hazards support and protecting timelines for development. they attribute to truck traffic. Each community's specific situation will be different. Nonetheless, the guiding principles or best practices noted in this chapter represent a useful framework for self-examination and action toward building a successful freight facility strategy. 28 Freight Facility Location Selection: A Guide for Public Officials