May 16, 2008

CARDIN, MIKULSKI ANNOUNCE INCREASED FUNDING FOR MARYLAND HOMELAND SECURITY PRIORITIES

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Senators Benjamin L. Cardin and Barbara A. Mikulski (both D-Md.) today announced significant federal investments in Maryland's transit and port security following the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announcement of awards for state infrastructure grants.   In addition to providing $38.4 million for transit security in the National Capital Region and Baltimore, up from $29.3 million last year, Maryland received $6.6 million in port security funding, a $2.9 million increase from last year.  

 

Senator Cardin is a member of the Budget Committee. Senator Mikulski is a member of the Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee.  

 

"Protecting America's security begins at home and these grants strengthen our ability to protect our neighborhoods, our economic livelihood and our nation's borders," said Senator Cardin.   "I am proud of the role Maryland, and the entire National Capital Region, has as a national and international hub for government, business, and tourism.   But that spotlight inherently brings an increased risk that makes federal investments like these much more critical."  

 

"We are a high-risk and high-threat nation, and today's threats were unthinkable years ago.   Our Homeland Security grant programs play an integral role in keeping us safe.   Today's announcement acknowledges what we have always known - Maryland is a critical partner in protecting the country from potential attacks," said Senator Mikulski.   "Our economy depends on moving goods via our ports and rails, and our security demands that they are safe and protected from attacks.   I will continue to fight to safeguard these much-needed federal investments in hometown security."

 

PORT SECURITY GRANT PROGRAM (PSGP)

 

The PSGP provides funding to finance security enhancements at critical national seaports, including plans, exercises and equipment to prevent, protect, respond to and recover from potential attacks to our nation's ports.   Approximately 11 million containers come into the United States each year, including 19,000 containers daily.   The Port of Baltimore, which is the 14th largest port for foreign cargo, will receive almost $6.6 million.   The Port of Baltimore is a major economic engine for Maryland and America, supporting more than 42,000 maritime-related jobs in Maryland and almost 20,000 direct jobs.   The funding was awarded to the Maryland Emergency Management Agency (MEMA).

 

"The Port of Baltimore is one of the most important economic hubs for our state and region.   Its close proximity to Washington, access to the Northeast corridor, and sheer volume make it a target of the highest level," said Senator Cardin.   "I am pleased that DHS has recognized this and will be providing additional resources to improve security."  

 

 "Ports are high-threat targets for terrorism.   We need to make sure the Port of Baltimore and all ports across America are safe, secure and growing," said Senator Mikulski.   "I have been fighting to upgrade the Port of Baltimore for more than 20 years - I will continue to fight to keep our ports and our people safe from terrorism."

 

TRANSIT SECURITY GRANT PROGRAM (TSGP)

 

The TSGP provides funding to urban areas to strengthen critical infrastructure against risk of potential attack.   Funds support operators of intercity bus and rail systems for training, planning, operations and equipment.   The National Capital Region, which includes Montgomery and Prince George's Counties, and the Baltimore region will receive $38.4 million.

 

"Our mass transit systems are highly visible targets that we rely on daily to efficiently move commuters and tourists, taking thousands of cars off our roads.   Transit systems like Metro and MARC also can move thousands during emergency situations like evacuations.   I believe it is imperative that we keep these critical systems functioning and safe, providing the federal resources to allow local and regional governments to deal with any potential threat," said Senator Cardin.

 

"Transit systems are uniquely challenged to protect and perform in a heightened state of risk.   At a time when gas prices are sky high, when we are encouraging the use of rail and transit alternatives like MARC and Metrorail, we need to make sure we are keeping commuters safe," said Senator Mikulski.   "I will continue to work with my colleagues on proposals that support these critical transit systems."

 

EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT PERFORMANCE GRANT (EMPG) PROGRAM

 

The EMPG supports comprehensive state and local emergency management and encourages the improvement of mitigation, preparedness, response, and recovery capabilities for all hazards.   Maryland will receive $5.4 million.

 

"First responders have always been on the front lines, keeping our families and our neighborhoods safe from harm.   I recognize that first responders in the National Capital Region have a unique challenge: the local residents they protect include the Federal Government, which increases the inherent threat and expands their mission," said Senator Cardin.   "I am proud to support federal investments like these grants, which help ensure that Maryland's first responders are prepared for any potential threat."

 

 "I don't know the threats facing Montana or Michigan, but I do know the threats facing Maryland and the National Capital Region.   Our first responders may be called on to provide support to the President, Congress and federal assets - both classified and unclassified," said Senator Mikulski.   "I will continue to advocate on behalf of programs that protect our protectors."