TRANSPORTATION SECRETARY OFFERS SECOND WAVE OF PORT SECURITY GRANTS
U.S. Secretary of Transportation Norman Y. Mineta said Tuesday the Transportation Security Administration has made available $105 million in port security grants, as well as $28 million for the TSA’s Operation Safe Commerce pilot program for port security.
The money is the second wave of port security grants. More than $92 million was distributed to 51 U.S. ports in June 2002.
Parties interested in the funds released have until 2 p.m. Feb. 27 to file grant applications. More information may be found at http:// www.portsecuritygrants.dottsa.net
A selection board made up of representatives from the TSA, the U.S. Coast Guard, and the Maritime Administration will assess all applications.
A TSA spokesperson told Shipper’s NewsWire that it will take “about two weeks” to choose the recipients of the port grants.
Under Operation Safe Commerce, the TSA on Tuesday requested applications for pilot programs using new techniques with the potential to increase the security of container shipments. The program involves the ports of Los Angeles-Long Beach, New York-New Jersey, and Seattle-Tacoma.
Funds for the port security grant program were provided by the fiscal year 2002 Supplemental Appropriations Act.
“U.S. ports are pleased that another $104 million in federal funds will be going to port security. However, the less than $200 million designated for ports thus far is only about one-fifth of what the government itself says is needed in just the first year,” said Kurt J. Nagle, president of the American Association of Port Authorities.
The $1-million difference between Nagle’s figure and that announced by Mineta will go for administrative costs, said an AAPA spokesperson.
Ports are hopeful the final fiscal year 2003 budget being negotiated in Congress will provide additional funds, Nagle explained.
“We also look forward to the announcement that an additional $20 million in fiscal year 2002 funds will be available for port security incident training and exercises,” Nagle said.