Senator Feinstein Applauds DHS Decision to Award Increased Funding to Help Secure California Ports of Oakland, San Francisco, Richmond, and Stockton
Jan 09 2007
Washington, DC – U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) today applauded a decision by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to award increased grant funding to help secure the California Ports of Oakland, San Francisco, Richmond and Stockton in 2007. By allowing these Bay Area ports to jointly apply for the highest level of funding for the 2007 Port Security Grant Program, these ports will now be eligible for as much as $11.2 million.
Under the Department’s port security grant funding system, a specified amount of funds are set aside for each tier of ports. For
Tier 1, the eight ports identified as the highest-risk ports, applicants will be eligible for a fixed amount of funding based upon threat and vulnerability assessments. The amount assigned to the Bay Area ports will be $11.2 million. That results in an increase of more than $10 million from 2006, when the ports submitted individual applications.
“America’s ports are vital national security assets. They face significant threats. And the ports of the Bay Area are among the busiest. The decision announced today by the Homeland Security Department will ensure that they will have more of the terrorism prevention and emergency preparedness resources needed to secure the ports against these threats,” said Senator Feinstein.
“I commend the Ports of Oakland, San Francisco, Richmond, and Stockton for their collaborative efforts thus far. And I hope that they will continue to work together to share the $11.2 million of fixed grant funding for which they are now eligible.”
Last year, by contrast, each of the four Bay Area ports were categorized as Tier 4 ports, forcing them to compete with a large number of other ports for the limited amount of port security funds allocated to their respective tier. In FY2006, Richmond Port received a $1.2 million grant. The Ports of Oakland, San Francisco and Stockton received no money at all, despite being awarded millions of dollars in port security grants in the past.
The decision announced today by the Department of Homeland Security comes after Senator Feinstein joined other members of the California Congressional delegation in writing a letter to DHS Secretary Michael Chertoff on September 26, 2006, expressing “astonishment” that, among other things, the Ports of Oakland (the fourth busiest container port in the U.S.) and San Francisco (a significant commercial and tourist hub supporting millions of visitors each year) had been denied port security funds during FY2006. The letter called on DHS to “design a system which adequately addresses the security needs” of these ports.
Across the state, California’s major ports will also benefit from a considerable increase in funding this year. The ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach are due to receive $14.7 million in port security grants, an increase of $3 million over last year’s figure of $12 million. Both San Diego and Port Hueneme will be eligible to compete for a portion of the $30 million set aside for tier 3 areas.