Port authorities are usually incorporated under enabling state legislation to develop waterfront property for recreational, transportational, agricultural, industrial and commercial purposes by financing, acquiring, enlarging, improving, replacing, owning, operating, selling, leasing and disposing of waterfront projects. Such projects may include any land, any building, structure, any machinery, equipment, furniture, facility or personal property, which may be used in connection with ports, docks, and all kinds of dock facilities, water and rail terminals and facilities, wharves, piers, berths, quays, loading and unloading facilities and other related facilities, marinas, boating facilities, facilities for aquatic entertainment and sports, facilities for fishing, pavilions, auditoriums, warehouses, factories, manufacturing plants, industrial plants, office and other commercial buildings and facilities.
Some port authorities manage and maintain the bridges, tunnels, bus terminals, airports, rails, and seaport that are critical to their region's trade and transportation capabilities. Through their facilities and services, people are able to make vital connections and businesses are able to grow. Providing safe and efficient travel is one of the main aims of a port authority.