AAPA Hails Approval Of $400 Million For Fiscal 2009 Port Security Grants
The American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA) today lauded both the Senate Appropriations Committee and the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security for including $400 million for the Port Security Grant program in their fiscal 2009 federal budget recommendations for the Department of Homeland Security. The Port Security Grant program is the only one of its kind in the United States to assist seaports in securing port facilities against terrorism.
"Earlier this year, we were disappointed to learn that the Administration had only requested $210 million to pay for port security grants in fiscal 2009, even though it had approved our recommended $400 million appropriation level for fiscal 2008," said Kurt Nagle, AAPA's president and chief executive. "AAPA worked long and hard to finally get the appropriation level up to the $400 million level, and we will continue to urge Congress and the Administration to keep it at that level because that was the amount authorized in the SAFE Port Act and it's what our ports need to protect their critical ship- and cargo-handling infrastructure from those having malicious intent."
On June 11, the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security finalized its recommendations for the fiscal 2009 Department of Homeland Security budget, including $400 million in funding for port security grants. Today, the Senate Appropriations Committee recommended the same appropriation level for the grants program.
Since the Port Security Grant program was established in 2002, Congress has appropriated approximately $1.5 billion for port facility grants. These grants are essential to U.S. ports for carrying out their regional security plans and hardening security at their individual facilities.