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News Release
FOR RELEASE - February 15, 2005
Contact: Aaron Ellis, aellis@aapa-ports.org
703-684-5700

American Association of Port Authorities
1010 Duke Street
Alexandria, VA 22314
Phone: (703) 684-5700
www.aapa-ports.org

Port Authority Association Vice President Provides Written Testimony For TSA Budget Hearing; Oral Remarks Postponed

Washington, D.C. – (Feb. 15, 2005) – Jean Godwin, American Association of Port Authorities Executive Vice President, was slated to testify today to the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science & Transportation, criticizing a proposal to roll the Port Security Grant Program into the new Targeted Infrastructure Protection Program in the Department of Homeland Security’s Transportation Security Administration Fiscal Year 2006 budget.

While the Senate Commerce Committee decided to postpone Godwin’s oral remarks to a later date, they accepted her written testimony for the record, as printed below.

WHO:  AAPA Executive Vice President Jean Godwin
WHAT: Testimony criticizing Administration’s proposal to roll the Port Security Grant Program into the new Targeted Infrastructure Protection Program
WHEN: Tuesday, Feb. 15, 2005, 10 a.m.
WHERE:  Russell Senate Office Building, Room 253, Washington, D.C.

Written Testimony of Jean Godwin
Executive Vice President and General Counsel
American Association of Port Authorities
Before the
Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee

FEBRUARY 15, 2005

Good Morning. I am Jean Godwin, Executive Vice President and General Counsel for the American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA). I thank you for inviting us to testify before your Committee on the Port Security Grant Program and the FY’06 proposed budget. AAPA is an alliance of the leading public ports in the Western Hemisphere and our testimony today reflects the views of our U.S. Members. AAPA has had a long history of involvement with the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, including passage of the Maritime Transportation Security Act (MTSA) and the Coast Guard reauthorization legislation, which both serve as authorizing legislation for the Port Security Grant program.

The Port Security Grant program was established after 9/11 to provide much-needed help to port facilities to harden security to protect these vital ports of entry from acts of terrorism. Since its inception, the program has given out $565 million in grants for 1,200 projects, with Congress providing an additional $150 million in FY’05. Overall only one-sixth of all projects have been funded, showing the great need for this program. Through four rounds of grants, funds were provided to coastal states, including the port-dependent states of Alaska and Hawaii. But its value to this nation is not just to coastal states. With 95% of our overseas trade flowing through our ports, all states and all citizens would be impacted by a shutdown of our seaports.

The Port Security Grant program has also been subject to numerous reorganizations, some of which are expected to be highlighted in the Inspector General’s report to be issued today. Originally the program was housed in the Maritime Administration, then it moved to the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and, as part of last year’s budget, the Administration moved the program to the Office of State and Local Government Coordination and Preparedness. As part of this move last year, the Department agreed to keep the program as a separate entity and to keep TSA, Coast Guard, MarAd, and Customs involved in the management and selection of these competitive grants.

In FY’06, the Administration proposes yet another change - elimination of the port security grant program, and creation of a broad grant program to protect facilities in the critical infrastructure plan. This runs counter to the intent of this Committee. Last year, this Committee included a provision in the Coast Guard reauthorization bill to update the authorization of the program. The Act maintained that there would be a separate program specifically for port security to be based on the MTSA.

The new Targeted Infrastructure Protection program would lump port security into a program with trains, trucks, busses and other public transit and ties these grants to the goal of protecting critical infrastructure based on relative risk, vulnerability and needs. This move would pit an underfunded border protection program against underfunded domestic transportation protection programs. AAPA has great concerns and encourages your Committee to voice opposition to this new structure.

Our economy, our safety and our national defense depend largely on how well we can protect our seaports. According to the 9/11 Commission Report, opportunities to do harm are as great, or greater, in maritime as they are at airports. Ports are also the only industry within this new Targeted Infrastructure Protection program that has a statutory mandate to comply with - the MTSA - and the only one for which there is a congressionally authorized grant program, which was also created by this Committee. A separate line item is essential to ensure that ports continue to be a targeted priority in our country’s war again terrorism. Cargo doesn’t vote and it is often not fully recognized for the value it provides to this country in state and federal infrastructure plans. While critical infrastructure protection is important, using it as the sole criteria for making decisions on funding for port security is a bad idea.

We must focus on protection at all seaports since ports serve as an international border and an incident at one would surely impact all ports. The MTSA has a system established to identify risks and vulnerabilities, and while some may question some of the DHS decisions on certain grants, the overall criteria of tying the grants to the MTSA is one that AAPA supports. This was not done in the first few rounds because the MTSA was not in effect yet. We urge DHS to refocus the program on the MTSA, while including a cross-check to the critical infrastructure plan and to keep this as a separate program, like the firefighter grants.

We also urge this Committee to take a leadership role in advocating for stronger funding for the current port security grant program in the FY’06 Appropriations process. The Coast Guard has estimated that ports would have to spend $5.4 billion over a 10-year period to comply with the new MTSA. AAPA urges a funding level of $400 million in FY’06. There is still much to be done to continue our progress in securing America’s ports. Adequate federal funds will help us avoid an infrastructure crisis in the future.

Ports are currently planning for a huge increase in trade in the future. Industry analysts predict that within the next 15 years, that the approximately two billion tons of cargo that U.S. ports handle will double. But ports are also challenged by the new security mandates of the MTSA and the need to continue to make improvements. Therefore, ports are using current dollars to pay for security, rather than capital investments needed to handle the future growth in international trade. We need the federal government to provide its share of these improvements now, so that our ports are secure today and will be able to meet the challenges and opportunities of accommodating the world trade needs of tomorrow.

Finally, AAPA would like to voice its strong support for the Transportation Worker Identification Credentialing (TWIC) program. We urge increased funding for this program and encourage DHS to make the necessary policy decisions to implement this program quickly. The MTSA required all ports to control access to their facilities, but our U.S. member ports are still waiting for the TWIC requirements before installing new technologies.

Thank you for inviting us to testify on this critical transportation security issue. Ports stand ready to do their part in protecting America. We urge your Committee to voice your support for a strong appropriation in FY’06 for a separate line item for the Port Security Grant Program.

Thank you. I would be happy to answer any questions.

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