26 Oct 2009

SIA is the leading trade group for businesses in the electronic and physical security market
US Congress has voted to eliminate the local cost-share requirement for port security grants
In a move that is expected to encourage ports to invest more in critical infrastructure protection initiatives, US Congress has voted to eliminate the local cost-share requirement for port security grants. The change was made in the Homeland Security Department appropriations bill (H.R. 2892) that is expected to be signed soon by President Obama.

The Port Security Grant Program (PSGP) administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is an essential source of funding that helps ports invest in cutting-edge security technologies, such as access control solutions that support deployment of the Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC) programme. Many ports had indicated that the requirement that they provide a 25 percent match in order to receive PSGP funds discouraged them from applying for grants.

In a September 14 letter to House and Senate Appropriations Committee leaders, SIA had requested that lawmakers drop the local match requirement.

"We are thrilled that Congress recognised that the economic climate is not conducive to imposing a cost-share requirement on port security grant applicants," SIA Director of Government Relations Don Erickson said. "We also understand that appropriators are not inclined to waive the requirement beyond FY2010, but SIA will work to prevent it from being imposed in future years."

Erickson thanked Rep. Jane Harman, D-Calif., and Rep. Loretta Sanchez, D-Calif., both of whom chair subcommittees within the House Homeland Security Committee, for their efforts to remove the local match requirement. Harman and Sanchez sent a letter to the chairs of the Appropriations Committees in both the House and Senate to ask them to remove the provision, writing: "As a result of this requirement, the progress of the Port Security programme is now at risk. Ports are currently questioning their ability to pay for the cost-share and are considering postponing projects or even returning grant oney they already received due to overall financial pressures."

Erickson also congratulated the American Association of Port Authorities for their long-standing leadership on the issue.