Napolitano fields SoCal aid requests
Local officials peppered Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano with funding requests to complete security-related projects at the Los Angeles and Long Beach port complex and Los Angeles International Airport during her tour Monday of those facilities, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Napolitano flew over the twin ports and was briefed by officials about recent security improvements at the three international gateways.
Los Angeles City Councilwoman Janice Hahn, who represents the port areas, said she urged Napolitano to allow local government to keep at least part of the $12 million in daily revenue generated at the Los Angeles Customs District to pay for port upgrades such as better sonar and perimeter security.
Congresswoman Jane Harman, D-Calif., who accompanied Napolitano on the tour, said she and other local officials asked for federal aid for several projects, including $60 million to complete the airport’s border fence. Harman said officials urged Napolitano to waive federal rules requiring local governments to contribute 25 percent of project financing because localities are husbanding scarce resources for essential needs as tax receipts dwindle during the recession.
The $787 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act includes an extra $150 million for the port security grant program administered by the Department of Homeland Security. The aid requests appear to be an effort to get in the front of the line for that assistance.