AAPA News Release: U.S. Public Ports Welcome Much Needed Security Funds

ALEXANDRIA, VA (May 10, 2007): The American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA), which represents public ports throughout the Western Hemisphere, welcomed the announcement today by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) that it will award $202,269,793 in federal grants to help 183 public and private entities improve security in and around port facilities. Congress appropriated $210 million for the Port Facility Grant program in fiscal year 2007, although $1.4 million was moved to the Ferry Security Grant program and three percent was allowed for administrative purposes. For the Fiscal 2007 grant program, DHS’s Press Package only released information by port area, and included a comparison of Port Security Grant funds allocated from FY’02-FY’07. For this “Overview: FY’2007 Infrastructure Protection Program Final Awards,” see http://www.dhs.gov/xnews/releases/pr_1178811654577.shtm. A full list of recipients is available on AAPA’s web page at http://www.aapa-ports.org. As in previous years, the funds will be distributed based on a prioritization of risk, although this year the program separated ports into four risk tiers and pre-assigned funds for Tier I port areas, which received 60 percent of the funds. Unlike the last two rounds, all port areas were eligible to apply, a priority of AAPA’s that was included in last year’s SAFE Port Act. The preallocation of funds for Tier I ports resulted in a limit on the amount of funds and projects applied for. Like last year, all entities receiving Fiscal 2007 Port Security Grant awards will pay a cost-share amount to participate. Public entities, such as seaport authorities and state and local governments, must pay 25 percent, while private entities, such as sightseeing cruise and petroleum terminals, will have to pay 50 percent. The security grants will not only assist marine facilities in paying for things like landside surveillance, access controls, interoperable communications and systems to prevent and detect improvised explosive device attacks, but will also provide much needed funds to pay for training as well as technology and equipment to test and install Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC) card readers for facilities. This is the seventh time that the federal government has released Port Security Grant funds since initiating the program after Sept. 11, 2001. Ports areas have received a total of only $1.1 billion, including $75 million from DHS’ Urban Area Security Initiative program since the program began. According to AAPA President/CEO Kurt Nagle, more annual appropriations are needed, particularly with facilities facing the extraordinary costs of implementing the TWIC program. “We believe a stronger federal partnership is necessary to help our public ports balance the pressure of competing priorities, such as infrastructure development, environmental initiatives, access improvements and promoting economic growth,” said Mr. Nagle. “Both the Administration and Congress acknowledged this fact in approving the SAFE Port Act legislation last year, which authorizes $400 million a year for port facility grants.” He added, “It's important that the FY’08 spending bill provide the full $400 million for the Port Security Grant program to help ports pay to install TWIC card readers and other terrorism prevention programs at their facilities. AAPA will continue to work with members of Congress to achieve this funding level. We are especially thankful that the emergency supplemental bill currently being debated by Congress includes an additional $190 million to bring the FY’07 funding level up to $400 million as called for in the SAFE Port Act.” This year, the grant program moved from the Office of Grants and Training to the Federal Emergency Management Administration, both of which are under DHS authority. The American Association of Port Authorities was founded in 1912 and today represents 160 of the leading public port authorities in the United States, Canada, Latin America and the Caribbean. In addition, the Association represents 300 sustaining and associate members, firms and individuals with an interest in the seaports of the Western Hemisphere. AAPA port members are public entities mandated by law to serve public purposes. Port authorities facilitate waterborne commerce and contribute to local, regional and national economic growth. American Association of Port Authorities 1010 Duke Street, Alexandria, VA 22314-3589 T: 703.684.5700 F: 703.684.6321 E: info@aapa-ports.org Find Below the links to details of the DHS Press Release (Dated May 10 2007) announcing DHS Awards of $445 Million to Secure Nation’s Critical Infrastructure Transit Security Grant Program: FY 2007 Awards and Funding History Overview: FY2007 Infrastructure Protection Program Final Awards (PDF, 38 pages - 773 KB). For the list of individual grants and further information on the Infrastructure Protection Program, please visit http://www.dhs.gov.