AAPA objects to port security funding cut
February 25, 2011 - LM Editorial
The American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA) has expressed “deep concerns” over the proposed funding cut for the Department of Homeland Security’s Port Security grant program that was included in the Continuing Resolution (CR) bill that recently passed the House of Representatives.
In a letter sent to Mary Landrieu, chairman of the Senate Appropriations/Homeland Security Subcommittee, and to Ranking Member, Dan Coats, AAPA president and CEO, Kurt Nagle noted that H.R. 1 proposes to reduce the funding for this program by two-thirds. This would bring the funding level down from $300 million to $100 million.
“The authorized level for the program, $400 million, has been appropriated in earlier budgets,” the letter stated.
In an interview with LM, Susan Monteverde, AAPA’s vice president of government relations, said that the cut is unprecedented.
“As recently as two years ago, we were getting $450 million with the added stimulus incentive,” she said. “Admittedly, not all of the that money was spent, but we see that as a consequence of the slow release of funds from DHS.”
The AAPA pointed out in the letter that the Port Security Grant program provides needed federal help to harden security at U.S. ports.
“Most port areas have developed five-year plans to enhance security by ranking projects based on risk,” stated the letter. “By decreasing this funding, these five-year plans cannot be carried out, leaving critical security enhancements undone.”
Nagle noted that additionally, these funds are used to help maintain current levels of security by providing funds for maintenance and replacement of broken systems in order to sustain a certain capability. Reducing these funds by two-thirds, he said, will have a negative impact on current ability to protect ports, as well as plans for future improvements.
“As you consider the Continuing Resolution, we urge you to give serious consideration to the impact such a drastic cut will have on the nation and ask that you reject the House level of funding for this program,” said Nagle. “Instead, AAPA calls for you to bring the Port Security Grant program on par with other Homeland Security programs and provide funding for at least $300 million in the final bill.”
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