Expanding export trade opportunities is an important strategy for increasing economic and employment success in the Appalachian Region. In 1995, the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) established the ARC Export Trade Advisory Council (ETAC) to advise the Commission on developing trade policy issues and to serve as an advocate for the Region within the global businesses community. ETAC helps establish and sustain export trade partnerships and information-sharing opportunities, and focuses special attention on helping small to medium-sized Appalachian businesses become more successful in international commerce. The organization encourages job creation and interconnectivity, fostering business and community growth and linking the Appalachian Region to national and international markets. An important strategy for economic development and employment success is the promotion of export trade opportunities in the Appalachian Region. ARC, on behalf of 10 Appalachian states, acquired the Port Import/Export Reporting Service (PIERS) data, which is aggregated waterborne trade data from bills of lading for 88 ports within the United States. The data was acquired to assist Appalachia’s leaders and citizens in analyzing the capacity, capability, and resources they need to build and strengthen their local economies through trade. ARC used this data to develop the Appalachian Regional Transportation and Export Data System (ARTEDS) in partnership with the Rahall Transportation Institute (RTI). Through this program, ARC and RTI hope to improve data gathering processes and increase the functional capabilities of the members of ARC.
This project was undertaken by the ARC, RTI and included all 13 Transportation Agencies within the Appalachian region. The main goal was to develop a comprehensive and integrate Geographic Information System (GIS) for the “The Appalachian Development Highway System 2012 Cost to Complete Estimate”. The ARC and RTI partnered to cost share on the creation of this multi-phased project to accomplish this task, with the ultimate goal to create the next Cost to Complete Estimate tool.