The American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA) today praised the Transportation Security Administration for announcing the availability of $104 million in Federal grants for port security
measures but cited government figures indicating that the sum represents just a fraction of what ports need to secure the nation's water borders.
"U.S. ports are pleased that another $104 million in Federal funds will be going toward port security," said Kurt J. Nagle
, President of the
American Association of Port Authorities. "However, the less than $200
million designated for ports thus far is only about one-fifth of what the government itself says is needed just in the first year."
Last spring, Congress gave ports an initial round of grants totaling $92.3 million for vulnerability assessments and implementation of
security enhancements. At that time, ports applied for some $700 million
in Federal funds.
U.S. Coast Guard estimates, published December 30, 2002, in connection with passage of the Maritime Transportation Security Act, placed
first-year costs for port security equipment and personnel at $963
million, followed by recurring annual costs of $535 million. The total
facility enhancement cost is estimated at $4.4 billion to implement the
"We remain hopeful that Congress and the Administration will make
substantial additional general funds available so that our nation's
ports may accomplish their objective of deterring terrorist attacks
across our water borders," Nagle said. Ports are hopeful that the final
FY'03 Budget being negotiated in Congress will
provide additional funds.
"We also look forward to the announcement that an additional $20 million
in FY 2002 funds will be available for port security incident training
Nagle noted the importance of securing water borders, citing a recent
key recommendation of the Council on Foreign Affairs that urged,
"Recalibrate the agenda for transportation security; the vulnerabilities
are greater and the stakes are higher in the sea and land modes than in
commercial aviation." Airports have received well in excess of $500
million in Federal funds for security enhancements following September
"Consider that U.S. ports handle 95 percent of our nation's overseas
trade by volume, including most imported crude petroleum," Nagle said.
"If there should be a terrorist incident at any of our nation's ports,
the U.S. maritime system could come to a screeching halt, subjecting our
country to economic paralysis. In addition, the mobilization and
deployment of our U.S. Armed Forces - which is being stepped up right
now - is heavily reliant on ports," he added.