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    Port Could Get Add'l Fed'l Security Funding After Angry Senator Prompts Homeland Security Sec'y Ridge To Send Money To Ports, Not Budget Switch; We Show Other Recently Allocated LB Related Fed'l Homeland Security Funds

    (June 12, 2003) -- The Port of LB, recently awarded $8.2 million as part of a Congressionally approved "Operation Safe Commerce" port security initiative, may get a second helping.

    That's the favorable fallout from a terse letter to an angry U.S. Senator by Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge, indicating his agency is shelving a controversial plan to "reprogram" [translation: spend elsewhere] roughly $28 million of $58 million approved by Congress for a pilot program to help monitor and track container cargo at the nationís three largest seaports.

    In a two sentence letter to Sen. Patty Murray (D., WA) -- who was so annoyed by the diversion that she withheld approval of an administration budget appointee -- Secretary Ridge said his Department "will obligate, in the near future, the entire $58 million in appropriated funds for the 'Operation Safe Commerce' port security initiative." (The letter's other sentence was a "thank you for your interest" close.)

    The Transportation Security Administration, which answers to Secretary Ridge, previously released $30 million for the port security pilot program...of which the Port of LB has been notified it will receive $8.2 million.

    Secretary Ridge's letter, indicating the $28 million more will "in the near future" be in the pipeline means the Port of LB should presumably be one of the recipients.

    Responding to an inquiry from, William C. Ellis, Dir. of Security for the Port of Long Beach indicated he was pleased with Transportation Security Administration's earlier decision [allocating $8.2 million] and was hopeful that additional sums [from the $28 million] would also be applied to the Port's grant requests.

    "Operation Safe Commerce" is a pilot study project that basically includes evaluating best practices for cargo monitoring, tracking, security and the like from point to point, which should produce recommended ways to improve the system. The pilot project at the Port of LB will be subcontracted and managed by the Port.

    City of LB Manager of Public/Government Affairs, Carl Kemp, provided with some other recent federal homeland security allocations slated for LB port-related security purposes:

    • Port of LB: $4.1 million from Office of Domestic Preparedness (LB portion of allocation for combined Ports of L.A./LB)
    • Port of LB: $9.82 million from Transportation Security Agency
    • City of LB: $200,163 from Transportation Security Agency
    • Pier T (Hanjin @ Port of LB): $665,000 from Transportation Security Agency
    • Port of LB: $8.2 million from Dept. of Homeland Security (Operation Safe Commerce)

    That totals nearly $23 million...with further presumably coming from the $28 million in additional funds that Homeland Sec'y Ridge has indicated will in the near future be allocated for Operation Safe Commerce.

    Related coverage:

  • LB To Get $6.46 Million In Fed'l Homeland Security Grant Money Allocated Nationally To Urban Areas With High Density Population & Critical Infrastructure; Ports of L.A.-LB Will Get Approx. $9 Million

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