$388.6 million available for port security grants
U.S. ports will be able to apply for $388.6 million in security grants for fiscal year 2009, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security announced Wednesday.
The port security grants are part of $3 billion available in federal funding to assist state and local governments improve emergency preparedness.
The guidance is the earliest ever in the annual grant cycle that began in 2002 in response to the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Funding levels for 2008 were announced in February.
Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff credited the quick action on Congress’ early passage of the department’s annual appropriation and establishment during the past two years of rigorous criteria for prioritizing grant allocations based on risk.
The various grant programs are focused, among other things, on protecting against Improvised Explosive Devices, radiological and nuclear detection, and information sharing.
Ports can use the security grants to cover expenses for security cameras, interoperable communication devices, lighting and other investments for monitoring and protecting their complexes, conduct training and implement the Transportation Worker Identification Credential. Once again money will be divided among ports based on which risk tiers they fall. Tier 1 ports, for example, will receive the most money. Ports will compete for the money available in each tier.
In June, Congress approved $400 million for the latest round of port security grants. About 3 percent of the money is being held back for administrative costs.
DHS also plans to disburse $15 million in grants for freight rail security to help railroads develop vulnerability assessments, implement security plans, training and Global Positioning System tracking for railroad cars transporting toxic materials that can be inhaled.
The Trucking Security Program will receive $7.8 million for eligible applicants to implement security measures and policies that focus on the purchase, installation or enhancement of equipment and systems related to tractor and trailer tracking systems, development of a DHS truck monitoring system, and to develop plans to improve transport and distribution of supplies during catastrophic events.