“When the Port of Humboldt Bay has only brought in one to two cruise ships per year over the past decade, it’s hard to imagine Eureka is suddenly going to become the next big thing for West Coast cruise ships.”

A real plan needs real numbers
The Times-Standard
Article Launched: 11/13/2008 01:33:12 AM PST

This Friday, the Humboldt Bay Harbor, Recreation, and Conservation District will take up for the second time a business plan by consultant TranSystems on how to make a proposed $36 million marine terminal pay.

And again, for the second time, the consultant used numbers that seem less based on reality than on arbitrary estimates based on what ports elsewhere are able to attract.

Not for the first time, the consultant depends too heavily on a gigantic spike in cruise ship traffic to make the project profitable. In the first version of the study, TranSystems estimated that the port would draw 43 cruise ships. In this revision, the consultant says 30 to 40.

When the Port of Humboldt Bay has only brought in one to two cruise ships per year over the past decade, it’s hard to imagine Eureka is suddenly going to become the next big thing for West Coast cruise ships.

Without some solid interest from real businesses and cruise lines, it appears less than wise to pursue doing the environmental analysis needed to build the terminal.

If, however, that interest can be secured, it’s certainly an effort that should come before the public for review, to see if such a project could yield real benefits for the community and the economy.

The harbor district should proceed cautiously and methodically while using real numbers — not vague and perhaps overly optimistic assumptions.

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