Los Angeles and Long Beach ports receive DHS security grants
The Port of Los Angeles received $6.56 million in U.S. Department of Homeland Security Port Security grants this week.
The funds will be used for waterside surveillance system enhancements, command and control center system integration, and communications system infrastructure.
Los Angeles and the adjacent Long Beach port, comprising the busiest container port complex in the Western Hemisphere, received a combined total of $15.4 million in this round of grants.
In addition to the Port of Los Angeles grant, $1.46 million in DHS monies were awarded to businesses operating in the port.
The port's grant, the fifth-largest in this round, represents about 3 percent of the total $202.27 million given to port entities nationwide.
The second-largest busiest port complex in the nation, the sprawling port of New York and New Jersey, received $17.3 million in DHS funds. Bay Area ports, including Oakland, the nation's third-busiest, received just over $14 million in grants.
Since the DHS grants began there have been seven rounds of awards. Los Angeles has applied for a total of $163.03 million and has been awarded $37.76 million and combined with Long Beach, a total of $65 million.
Additional information about how the funds are divvied up are available at: http://www.dhs.gov/xlibrary/assets/grants_ippawardsfy07.pdf.
The American Association of Port Authorities said it welcomed the grants, under a program that began in 2002 after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.
The AAPA noted that 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. It said preallocation of funds for Tier I ports resulted in a limit on the amount of funds and projects applied for.
The AAPA noted that like last year, all entities receiving fiscal year 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.
It said the grants would assist marine facilities in paying for things like landside surveillance, access controls, communication systems, and systems to prevent and detect improvised explosive device attacks.
It also said it would “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.”
More funds are needed, said Kurt Nagle, AAPA president and chief executive officer, particularly with facilities facing the extraordinary costs of implementing the TWIC program.
“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,” Nagle said. “It’s important that the fiscal year 2008 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.”