News Column

Big Crowd Expected at Port Privatization Hearing

Feb. 4, 2013

Robert McCabe, The Virginian-Pilot

The public gets another chance today to weigh in on the port-privatization process.

A hearing is planned from 5 to 8 p.m. at the theater inside Nauticus, the second public event sponsored by the Virginia Port Authority board.

If it's anything like the one held in early October, the room could be packed.

The session comes as the process that began last spring moves closer to a decision, expected at the authority's March 26 board meeting.

After opening comments by a Port Authority representative, speakers from APM Terminals Inc. and a group headed by JPMorgan Chase & Co. -- the two private entities involved -- each will get 10 minutes to talk about their proposals.

An official from the state's Office of Transportation Public-Private Partnerships will get 10 minutes as well.

People who wish to speak can sign up starting at 4:15 p.m. at a table outside the theater's main entrance. Each speaker will be limited to three minutes.

The hearing will be preceded by a 2-1/2-hour closed-door meeting of the Port Authority board, at which APM and JPMorgan representatives will discuss "confidential components" of their proposals.

A third option is to go with a restructuring plan set in motion by the board at its Jan. 22 meeting, though the restructuring itself is not yet formally approved.

If the board chooses to restructure, it would modify the 30-year-old relationship between the authority and its private operator,

Source: (c)2013 The Virginian-Pilot (Norfolk, Va.) Distributed by MCT Information Services

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