U.S. public port authorities discussed the need for Federal legislation and continued Federal funding for maritime security. They urged Congress
to appropriate additional funds for Fiscal Year ’03 during their Legislative Policy Council
(LPC) meeting on Monday, September 23, 2002. Port authorities are meeting this week at the 91st Annual Convention of the American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA), at the Breakers Hotel in Palm Beach
John A. Flaherty, Chief of Staff of the Department of Transportation, said during remarks at a luncheon today that ports have an historic opportunity to influence reauthorization of the Transportation Efficiency Act (TEA 21) next year, when the current legislation expires in September. TEA 21, AIR 21, and Amtrak reauthorization will be debated at the same time. Flaherty called it a “unique opportunity for a truly intermodal discussion.” Maritime needs will be a central feature of reauthorization, he said, and port involvement will be critical. Flaherty also said that ports must continue to address security threats while preparing for reauthorization of TEA 21.
The House Appropriations Transportation Subcommittee yesterday approved $150 million for port security grants in Fiscal Year (FY)’03 appropriations. The full Appropriations Committee will take action on Thursday, September 26. Earlier this year the Senate approved $100 million to continue the port security grant program in FY’03. The Administration recently agreed to reprogram additional funding of $125 million in port security grants for FY ‘02. Ports will be able to apply for the grants in November.
The U.S. LPC also reaffirmed its support for Federal legislation to enhance seaport security. U.S. ports lauded the Bush Administration and Congress for recognizing the importance of ports and for providing initial grant funding.
Almost 900 delegates and guests are attending the 91st AAPA Annual Convention in Palm Beach. The Port of Palm Beach is hosting a number of events to highlight the port and region.
The business program, which began with 8:45 a.m. Opening Ceremonies on Tuesday, September 24, included speakers on topics such as trade in the Western Hemisphere, maritime security, cruise industry trends, media relations in a crisis environment, best practices in communications, environment and information technology, and funding requirements for ports.