Port security officials say ports' security is short-changed by the president budget, approach

Published 14 February 2006

Representatives of U.S. ports are unhappy with the president’s budget for the way it treats port security grants. The budget provides for a Targeted Infrastructure Protection (TIP) program under which ports, rails, the trucking industry, intercity buses, and others would be required to compete for funding from an overall $600 million account. The administration put forth a similar arrangement last year, but Congress refused to accept it and provided separate allocations for the various entities. That included $175 million for port security grants. Jay Grant, Director of the Port Security Council, which represents ports before Congress and the administration, expressed disappointment over the efforts to put all the transportation-related facilities into one pool. He said: “Ports generally have not been highly publicized entities to which funds are automatically allocated, and thus tend to fair poorly when forced into competition with popular modes of transportation. But the security needs are there, and Congress recognized that last year when it provided separate port allocations. We hope it will do the same again this year, because port security needs run into the billions.” Grant pointed to the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, which in its five year budget is allocating $350 million for security requirements alone.

Kurt Nagle, president and CEO of the American Association of Port Authorities, said: “The federal share of the seaport facility security funding partnership needs to be increased, not reprogrammed and diluted …It’s not in the nation’s best interest to dilute the focus on maritime security.”

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