ALEXANDRIA, Va.–The American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA) has praised the US Senate Appropriations Committee for approving the FY 2006 Emergency Supplemental Appropriations bill, which would result in a major boost in security funding for America’s seaports.
As part of the bill, the committee approved an amendment, offered by Sen. Robert Byrd (D-WV), which would provide an additional $648 million in resources for radiation portal monitors, container inspections, port inspections and port facility security grants.
“Securing America’s seaports, which are essential for the nation’s economic growth, vitality and way of life, must be a top national priority,” said AAPA President/CEO Kurt Nagle. “This legislation, along with pending port and cargo security legislation in the House and Senate for future years, provides heightened focus on protecting the cargo, people and critical infrastructure of our ports that we as a nation depend on.”
In total, the Senate Appropriations’ supplemental bill allocates $106.5 billion in emergency funding, including $72 billion for the global war on terror and $27 billion for hurricane recovery efforts. Within the $648 million port security amendment to the bill, $227 million of additional funds are allocated to the federal Port Security Grant program, $211 million for Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to purchase 60 more cargo container inspection systems, $23 million for CBP to hire 50 additional port inspectors, $23 million for the U.S. Coast Guard to triple the number of port security plan specialists, $32 million for CBP to hire 85 cargo container security specialists, and $132 million to place more than 300 additional radiation portal monitors in U.S. seaports to check cargo containers for carrying radioactive materials.