Ports seek $1 million donation for lobbying effort
The Port Security Council, a coalition of ports, terminal and vessel operators, port users and service providers dedicated to obtaining more federal funding and grants for port security, said it is seeking more than $1 million from members and others to campaign for more investments in the fiscal 2006 budget process.
“We are urging others to help us speak with one voice in the political and public affairs arena,” Council President Jay Grant said in a statement. ” An effective government and public affairs campaign comes with a significant price tag, one that the ports cannot bear alone.”
The American Association of Port Authorities, a founding member of the Port Security Council in 2004, recently decried what it says is severe underfunding of port security mandates imposed by Congress since the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. Ports have borne most of the personnel and infrastructure costs so far, the trade group says. To date the government has issued grants totaling $565 million dollars, a fraction of the $5.4 billion in infrastructure costs alone the U.S. Coast Guard conservatively estimates will be needed to protect ports during the next 10 years.
AAPA has called on the government to provide $400 million in grants during the next appropriations’ cycle.
Government and private sector security experts worry that ports are high on Al Queda’s list of potential U.S. targets because of the importance of international trade to the economy.