AAPA Engages Outside Legislative Counsel

Tuesday, July 08, 2003
The American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA) has retained Jay Grant & Associates (JG&A), a government affairs lobbying and public affairs firm with offices in Seattle, WA. and Washington, D.C. to represent the interests of AAPA members before Congress and the Administration’ s Department of Homeland Security regarding port security. AAPA is the primary association representing American seaports. It represents over 150 ports in the United States, Canada and South America. AAPA’s President Kurt Nagle said that the decision to retain JG&A “has already benefited our membership. It is clear that JG&A’s expertise and relationships played an important role in the June 12th announcement by Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge that $245 million in federal grants is being made available for security enhancements at U.S. ports and that another $105 million will be made available later this summer.” Nagle added: “The decision to retain outside assistance reflects the high priority placed on protecting America’s ports following the tragic event of September 11th. AAPA engaged Jay Grant and Associates to help leverage port authorities efforts to gain Federal help to enhance security at seaports and to increase awareness by Federal policy makers of the importance of this vital asset to the Nation and the national transportation system. The Protection of our Nation’s ports and the training of security personnel is one of the first priorities. The funding announced last week is most welcome, but there is still a long ways to go. Nearly a billion dollars in applications have been submitted by port facilities for security improvements, and it is thus important for both Congress and the Administration to provide additional funding as soon as possible. JG&A will be working with us to bring these needs to the attention of key policymakers.” Jay Grant, the firm’s managing partner, stated: “I look forward to working with AAPA members to address their challenges. From the largest to the smallest ports, their specific needs must be dealt with immediately. We have been asked to initially focus on the funding issue, then other issues as they arise.” Working closely with Grant as a member of the firm is David Kehl, a long time Capitol Hill veteran who served as former House Republican Leader Bob Michel’s Legislative Director for 14 years. Kehl said: “Members of Congress and Executive Branch officials are becoming increasingly aware of the potential terrorist threat to our nation’s ports. We at JG&A intend to do every thing possible, working with AAPA, to further that understanding and help insure that ports receive the resources necessary to enable them to head off any threat that may materialize.” Ports are a key component of the American economy. Nearly 8 million shipping containers pass through our seaports each year. Ports connect companies with customers and suppliers, strengthen the local and national economies, provide higher paying jobs, and increase our standard of living. Therefore, the U.S. economy could experience a significant negative economic impact if trade is interrupted due to a terrorist or other type of threat at our seaports. For example, it has been estimated that the cost to the U.S. economy during the recent West Coast port closures because of a labor-management dispute was $1 billion per day for the first five days, rising exponentially thereafter. Ships are the primary mode of transportation for world trade and the United States is the world’s leading maritime trading nation. By weight, 95% of all foreign imports come through U.S. ports . The Coast Guard estimates that the cost for addressing terrorist threats at our ports will be $1 billion the first year and $4.4 billion over the following ten years .

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