I was born and raised on Galveston Island. My father, a longshoreman at the Port of Galveston, was employed there for many years on and off the island.

The Port of Houston is taxed based to operate. So, why is it that the Port of Galveston isn't taxed based to operate?

The docks have deteriorated for almost a century now. It is utter neglect. Many good things are happening now with cruise ships; but remember the everyday cargo ships are necessary to many statewide, not just locally. We should provide dockage to all types of ships with well-maintained docks to ensure our stability and future.

The Port of Galveston should be taxed based as is the city of Galveston and county of Galveston, and if we can do this, our great city, county, and great docks will flourish as never seen before.

Sandra Blankenship Trapani

Texas City


Recommended for you

(5) comments

Robert Braeking

Port Operations should not be tax based any more than commercial flight operations out of Hobby airport should be tax based. It does make sense that the commercial operators at the port lease the space from the city, but it is also incumbent upon the landlord, the city, maintain the facilities.

There is a greater problem with Galveston's port. The entire infrastructure of the port has been co-opted in favor of tourism, which is a shame considering that Galveston is a natural deep water port. Gone are the warehouses. A truck leaving the port cannot even make a right turn onto IH-45 without either taking out the curb or taking up 2 lanes of traffic. There is a bit better truck access to the port now than when I was schlepping fruit from the Del Monte dock, but the staging area for trucks is woefully inadequate. There could be a lay-down yard established to minimize the time that 18-wheelers must wait at the port. To get from the pier to the highway in a truck is painful. So many traffic lights and so little timing. Trucks leaving the port are caught at every light wasting both diesel fuel and patience. Must there be a red light at every block?

No, Mrs. T, this is not a good target for socialism. But it is an area that is ripe for correcting problems associated with getting ships in and out of the port efficiently.

Miceal O'Laochdha

Robert: in a more ideal world I would agree with your well-reasoned view here. But, the POG does not exist in a vacuum. The ports with which the POG must compete (including but not limited to Houston, as the writer points out) are taxpayer supported; putting Galveston at a distinct competitive disadvantage. The ships tying up at these docks are themselves a perfect example. The disadvantage of competing against the ships of other countries that are government-supported (read: taxpayer) has nearly destroyed the US Flag Merchant Marine. The bananas you trucked from Del Monte used to be carried in American ships like those of United Fruit Company, but those high-value fruit cargos are now carried on Del Monte's foreign flag (flag of convenience, aka FOC) ships. Passengers used to sail on the American ships of US Lines, American Export Lines, Delta Lines, American President Lines, and many others. Every one put out business by FOC ships. Take a look at the flags of Panama and the Bahamas on the stern of those passenger ships now calling at the Port of Galveston. Trying to compete in the maritime industry heads-up against taxpayer-supported rivals is a recipe for extinction and the POG should be credited for having managed to survive at all.

Charlotte O'rourke

I’m glad that Ms Trapani wrote a letter in support of the port. It’s important to the entire county.

Unlike other public ports, the Port of Galveston doesn’t receive direct tax support. It does, however, receive a tax abatement by not paying taxes on the city owned land. The port or its customers pay many other taxes including sales tax, business personal property tax, improvement property taxes, money in lieu of taxes, and even hotel occupancy taxes as it has a hotel on its property.

I’ve always thought when the convention center bonds are retired, the city council should consider providing the port HOT funds as cruise terminals and other port assets qualify for HOT tax. The port brings heads in beds and tourism dollars. This would free up operating revenue for diversification and spending money on cargo operating improvements outlined by Robert.

The problem I see is that the port sometimes does not give a totally realistic picture of its finances and infrastructure needs. That makes it limp along without extra support from entities and individuals that can help.

To repair the cargo docks is going to take significant revenues over and beyond operating revenues.

After Ike, unlike the city, the port received no CDBG funds.

The port does a disservice when it paints too rosy of a picture, and doesn’t explain its true financial needs to grow industrial jobs and keep competitive in the cruise market.

I agree with Miceal - the POG does deserve praise for competing in a very competitive environment without the tax funds other ports routinely enjoy.

Jarvis Buckley

I agree with Charlotte

Charlotte O'rourke

Thanks Jarvis.

I have fond memories of growing up in Galveston, still enjoy living here, and remember when 1 out of every 2 jobs were port related. So I understand the frustration of a lack of financial support and emphasis on saving and obtaining additional industrial maritime jobs.

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.

Thank you for Reading!

Please log in, or sign up for a new account and purchase a subscription to read or post comments.