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real estate property taxes may drive these parcels into non-freight development and push freight facilities into the urban fringe. High personal property taxes can also be a concern if inventory is taxed as personal property. Public sector assistance and incentives Public sector assistance in the form of tax credits, grants, low-cost loans, training programs, utility discounts, and infrastructure development is often used by a community to gain advantage over a competitor. When competing sites are rated relatively equal, incentives offered When competing sites are rated by the public sector may help close the deal. relatively equal, incentives offered by the public sector may Climate and natural hazards help close the deal. In order to understand business interruption risks, companies will collect data on the region's climate, natural hazards, and historic information on how these have impacted business closures in past years. Few areas are without some form of natural hazard risk, and companies will sometimes compile data on excessive heat, cold, rain, snowfall, earthquake, wildfire, tornado, hurricane, or other relevant data to develop appropriate mitigation (and recovery) plans. Weighing site selection factors The site selection process and factors apply to all forms of freight facilities in some fashion. Still, how these are applied varies depending on who will use the facility. For example, the availability of labor is a very important factor for a port facility whereas tax incentives generally are of less importance, especially as many ports are publicly owned. Likewise, the transportation network is critically important to a distribution center but permitting and regulations are far less important than they might be to a transload center that may process hazardous materials. Freight Facility Location Selection: A Guide for Public Officials 53
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Table 3 below identifies the relative weight of various factors that will drive the site location decision for each type of freight facility. Public officials should note that factors over which they have some control permitting and regulations, the tax environment, incentives and other forms of assistance are generally a less important factor than access to markets, transportation networks, and a workforce when location decisions are being made. Table 3. Site Selection Criteria by Facility Type Type of Logistics Facility Distribution Intermodal Transload Location Criteria Center Port Terminal Terminal ILC Hub Terminal City Terminal Ability to Access Key Markets or Customers Interaction with Transportation Network Labor and Workforce Total Cost Environment Availability and Cost of Suitable Facilities Utilities Permitting and Regulation Tax Environment Public Sector Assistance and Incentives Climate and Natural Hazards Key Priority of Criteria: Primary Factor Important Factor Lesser Factor 54 Freight Facility Location Selection: A Guide for Public Officials