Lawmakers support risk-based grants for ports
U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, and Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, toured the Port of Houston Thursday and pledged to introduce legislation that will include a requirement for the Department of Homeland Security to allocate port security grants based on risk.
“It’s important that Homeland Security dollars be allocated on the basis of a risk assessment,” Cornyn said in a statement issued by the port. “Taxpayer dollars should be directed where they can do the most good — to best protect locations, such as the Port of Houston, that are under the most risk, and if attacked would have the most detrimental effect on our economy and our nation.”
Cornyn’s home state hosts the Port of New York-New Jersey.
The Port of Houston has received $16.7 million in federal port security grants out of more than $500 million issued to ports in four rounds of awards since 2002.
Ports argue that the grants barely cover one-sixth the amount of security improvements estimated as necessary by the Coast Guard to implement maritime and port security mandates.