WASHINGTON, D.C. –
Senators Benjamin L. Cardin and Barbara A. Mikulski (both D-Md.) today announced that Maryland and the National Capital Region will receive nearly $14.3 million in additional federal funding from the emergency supplemental fiscal year 2007 spending bill passed by Congress earlier this year. Under the supplemental, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) received $110 million for port security grants, $100 million for transit security grants, and $50 million for emergency management grants.
Senator Mikulski is a member of the Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee. Senator Cardin is a member of the Budget Committee.
PORT SECURITY GRANT PROGRAM (PSGP)
The PSGP provides funding to finance security enhancements at critical national seaports, including plans and exercises 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 $1.8 million in additional funding. The Port of Baltimore is an economic engine for Maryland and America, supporting more than 42,000 maritime-related jobs in Maryland and almost 20,000 direct jobs.
“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 – and for years my challenge was fixing the twists and turns in our channels that were a safety risk. Today, it’s threats that were unthinkable years ago. Keeping our ports and our people safe from terrorism is one of my top priorities.”
“We must do more to secure our nation’s ports. The Port of Baltimore is one of the most important economic engines in our state and region. Its close proximity to Washington and its high volume make it a target, and I am pleased that it will receive additional resources to improve security,” said Senator Cardin.
TRANSIT SECURITY GRANT PROGRAM (TSGP)
The TSGP provides funding to urban areas and Amtrak to strengthen critical infrastructure against risk of potential attack. Out of the $100 million appropriated, Amtrak will receive an additional $5.1 million, with states receiving $94.9 million. The National Capital Region, which includes Montgomery and Prince George’s Counties, and the Baltimore region will receive $11.1 million.
“We are a high-risk and high-threat nation, with transit systems uniquely challenged to protect and perform. 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 in the Senate to fight for legislative proposals that support these critical transit systems.”
“Our mass transit systems are highly visible targets and it's imperative that we have the resources to effectively deal with any potential threat. Commuters in the National Capital Region rely on the Metro and MARC every day and this funding will help us ensure their safety,” said Senator Cardin.
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 an additional $932,000, and the District of Columbia will receive $432,564.
“I don’t know the threats facing Montana or Minnesota, 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. This much-needed funding from the federal government is an important investment in hometown security.”
“First responders in the National Capital Region have a unique challenge. They face an increase in risk and an expanded mission in protecting the nation's capital and local residents,” said Senator Cardin. “This increased funding will improve emergency management capabilities by allowing first responders to be prepared for any potential threat.”