PORT SECURITY GRANTS PROGRAM AVAILABLE FOR U.S. SEAPORTS
The U.S. Transportation Department has implemented a new port security grants program to finance security improvements at the country’s biggest seaports.
Transportation Secretary Norman Y. Mineta, who announced the grant program, called seaport security “an important front in the war on terrorism.”
Congress, through the 2002 Defense Department Appropriations Act, appropriated $93.3 million to the Transportation Security Administration for port security assessments and improvements. Undersecretary of Transportation for Security, the Maritime Administrator and the Coast Guard Commandant will manage the release of the grant awards.
Grant awards are expected to start in June. “We are moving quickly to put this money to work,” said John Magaw, DOT’s undersecretary of transportation for security.
The grant program is broken down into two categories:
* Security assessments and “mitigation strategies,” based on proposed port or terminal security assessments that show certain vulnerabilities.
* Enhanced facility and operational security, such as access control, physical security, and cargo and passenger security.
TSA staff, MarAd’s regional directors and the Coast Guard will gather, review and prioritize applications before submitting them to the selection board.
Grant applications will be submitted and evaluated electronically and awards will be posted on DOT’s Web site: http://www.portsecuritygrants.dottsa.net . More detail about the grants is also available online at http://www.fedbizopps.gov .
In addition to the grants, the Coast Guard is conducting in-depth “port vulnerability assessments” at the country’s most critical commercial and military seaports, and has requested $10.3 million from Congress in fiscal 2003 to conduct the reviews. This process was started in fiscal 2002 using emergency supplemental funds, DOT said.
“We’re very pleased that Congress recognized the tremendous need for
federal help at U.S. seaports and appropriated emergency funding for security enhancements,” said Kurt J. Nagle, president of the American Association of Port Authorities. “We commend DOT’s extraordinary efforts to get this grant program up and running quickly.”
The Fall 2000 report to Congress of the Interagency Commission on Crime and Security at U.S. Seaports estimated that enhanced security could cost $10 million to $50 million per port. For the AAPA’s 85 port members, security enhancements could exceed $2 billion.