CA Bay Area port officials find a creative way to get federal funding

Published 11 December 2006

After federal port security bill shortchanges local ports, authorities consider counting a recently-passed bond measure among matching funds claims; voters earmarked $100,000 for port security; Port of Oakland looks to build biometric portals and enhance RFID capabilities

Tony Bennett may have left his heart in San Francisco, but at least he did not leave a dirty bomb. As we reported last month, federal officials stiffed the ports of Oakland and San Francisco in this year’s port security bill, leaving California homeland security planners irritated and feeling vulnerable. Oakland officials, however, have hit upon a creative way to get the funding they need: asking the state to okay a plan in which recently-approved transportation bonds would be used to boost their matching funds for acquiring federal dollars. The $20 billion bond provides $100 million for port security, most of it intended for equipment purchases but not specifically earmarked for that purpose. A state Senate report has approved the scheme, and according to port executive Eve Grossman, DHS “did not promise anything but found the idea interesting.”

Among the security projects on the Port of Oakland’s agenda are: the construction of biometric identification portals at each of its maritime terminals; outfitting trucks with RFID tags, and improving wireless communications throughout the complex.

-read more in this Alameda Newspaper Group report