The American Association of Port Authorities commends
Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge
and the U.S. Coast Guard
the release of regulations to secure America's ports from terrorist
acts. These final regulations call for port facilities to conduct
vulnerability assessments, develop security plans and implement enhanced
Enhancing seaport security is a top priority for U.S. ports today.
Public port agencies have invested millions of dollars to increase
security and are committed to working closely with the Department of
Homeland Security (DHS) which takes the lead on maritime security. These
new regulations mark the first step toward implementation of the
Maritime Transportation Security Act (MTSA) - landmark legislation
enacted into law in 2002 aimed at fighting terrorism at our
international sea borders. The next steps are further enhancing the
cooperation and coordination and the funding to meet the law's intent.
According to the USCG, implementing these regulations will cost $1.125
billion in the first year and $5.45 billion over ten years.
The MTSA also calls for a grant program to help implement this
heightened security. While Congress
has appropriated $513.2 million
since September 11, 2001, for port security grants, to continue to make
progress, sustained funds are needed. For FY'05 AAPA urges a Federal
funding level of $400 million for the Transportation Security
Administration's port security grant program to cost-share with local
and facility operators to make the enhancements
required under these new regulations.
According to Kurt Nagle
, President of AAPA, "America's ports are
critical to our nation's defense and economic vitality. To ensure
implementation of security measures, it's vital that the Federal
government continue and augment its financial help to ports, as it has
done with airports. Sustained funding for maritime security is essential
to building a strong homeland defense. AAPA urges the Administration and
Congress to provide $400 million in grant funding in FY'05.
"AAPA looks forward to continuing to partner with the Department of
Homeland Security on the range of maritime security issues, including
funding. To this end, the Association is actively seeking representation
on the National Maritime Security Advisory Committee to give guidance to
DHS from the public port industry perspective," noted Mr. Nagle.
The Coast Guard regulations also call for facilities to provide access
control systems as part of their port facility plans. The Department of
Homeland Security (DHS) is in the process of developing a Transportation
Worker Identification Card in accordance with the MTSA. AAPA encourages
DHS to move quickly in implementing this program to support security
programs at ports.
The regulations are a culmination of several years of hard work and
collaboration with the port industry on the best way to secure ports
while keeping cargo flowing efficiently. Protecting America
's ports is
critical to the nation's economic growth and vitality. Ports handle 95%
of our nation's overseas trade by volume, support the mobilization and
deployment of U.S. Armed Forces, and serve as transit points for
millions of cruise and ferry passengers.