The facilities and vessels operating in Connecticut’s biggest ports, Bridgeport, New Haven and New London, are now eligible to apply for port security grants, Senator Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) and Senator Joe Lieberman (D-Conn.) announced today. Connecticut will also receive its share of the $47 million in grants appropriated for transit security to Connecticut, New York and New Jersey. These grants will benefit the Connecticut Department of Transportation (CDOT) and the Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA).
“This assistance can’t magically shield Connecticut from future dangers, but it can help ensure that the state is better prepared to deal with possible threats,” Dodd said. “Protecting the American people from terrorism requires more than tough talk. It requires tough, smart choices, too. I am pleased that the Administration has agreed that the New London/Groton port, home to Electric Boat, the Coast Guard Academy and the New London Sub Base, is deserving of these funds, as well. To ignore these facilities is to ignore high priorities for our state’s – and our country’s security.”
“I am pleased that the transit systems in, and serving, Connecticut are eligible for additional security grants this year, and that all of Connecticut’s major ports are finally eligible to apply for port security grants,” Lieberman said. “More than 100,000 people ride Connecticut’s buses and rails each day, and our ports are integral to Connecticut’s economy. We know that our ports and transit systems are potential targets for terrorists and these grants will help provide the resources needed for Connecticut’s safety.”
Port facility owners and operators, port authorities, and ferries operating in the ports of Bridgeport, New Haven and New London will be able to apply for grants from the $168 million available in port security funding this year. Last year, the New London/Groton port area was not among the eligible ports. The grants provide funding for increased protection against potential threats from small craft, underwater attacks, and vehicle-borne improvised explosives, and to enhance explosive detection capabilities aboard ferries and associated ferry facilities. Eligible ports are chosen by a risk-based formula that takes into consideration threat, vulnerability, and regional impact.
The Department of Homeland Security also announced $47 million in transit security grants this year for the tri-state area, up from $37.5 million last year. These grants will be divided between CTDOT, MTA, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and New Jersey Transit. Amtrak will also receive $7 million from DHS’ Intercity Passenger Rail Security Grant Program.
“As the Bush administration continues to drastically underfund these critical areas, ensuring sufficient funding for port and transit security remains one of my top priorities,” Lieberman said. “While these grants are a step in the right direction, billions more are needed to go the distance to truly secure our ports and transit systems.”