The American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA) said that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) that it has made available an additional $110m in fiscal 2007 Port Security Grant funding. The money, to pay for security improvements in and around America's public ports, was part of a compromise Iraqi war appropriations supplemental bill that was signed into law last May.
Currently, the Port Security Grant program
divides eligible ports into four tiers, based on their perceived risk, with top tier ports receiving the lion's share of the available funds. According to DHS, changes in the way the grants are being distributed for the fiscal 2007 supplemental round will impact both Tier I and Tier II grant recipients. As part of DHS' plan to make the grants more regionally based, a set amount of funding is being provided for port areas in Tiers I and II (based proportionally on FY'07 risk analysis), with one "fiduciary agent" assigned to each port area, selected through its Area Maritime Security Committee process
and the U.S. Coast Guard Captain of the Port. Rather than individual facilities applying for funding as in the past, only the port area's fiduciary agent will be able to apply for the grant awards.
Because the grants must be made before the end of the federal fiscal year which ends Sept. 30, Tier I and Tier II port areas must establish a fiduciary agent quickly so they can apply for the available funds.
In Tiers I and II, allocated funds will be awarded through a Cooperative Agreement to allow a higher level of federal involvement in assisting port areas in the development and implementation of security plans
. The fiduciary agent can use 20 percent of the funds-with no cost-share match required-to develop port Area-Wide Risk Management/Mitigation and Business Continuity Plans. The remaining 80 percent of the funds will be distributed to port facilities through the Cooperative Agreement in accordance with the port area's security plan. This allows private facilities to have only a 25 percent cost-share match, instead of the 50 percent match required in the previous two grant award rounds.