Boxer bill would increase federal grant making for port security
U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer introduced a bill Monday to provide up to $800,000 per year in federal matching funds to ports to help them implement security improvements.
Under the legislation, ports would be able to apply to the Department of Homeland Security for grants covering 75 percent of the cost, or more under special circumstances, of security enhancements. The bill would fund security grants from fiscal 2005 through 2009.
Many ports and their customers argue that the federal government is forcing them to add systems to protect people and cargo without providing sufficient reimbursement. Including 2004, transportation officials in the last three fiscal years will have doled out less than $500 million in grants, which the Coast Guard says is only about 10 percent of the amount required nationally for physical barriers, high-tech surveillance and computer systems, training and personnel.