FEMA Ruling Will Ease Port Security Costs, Says AAPA

Nov. 24, 2009
FEMA ruling will help mitigate port security costs, according to AAPA

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), which manages the Department of Homeland Security’s Port Security Grants program, has approved the use of preparedness grant funds for security equipment maintenance contracts, warranties, repair or replacement costs, upgrades and user fees under all active and future grant awards.

“This reversal in DHS policy is welcome news and represents years of advocacy on the part of the port industry,” says Kurt Nagle, president and chief executive officer of the American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA). “The 2006 SAFE Port Act allows port security grants to cover maintenance, repair and replacement expenses, but DHS’ past limitations on these costs have resulted in grantees having to take over this large financial burden.”

Nagle says that the policy change will help AAPA member ports pay the increasingly burdensome costs of ensuring their security equipment and operating systems are in top working order. “Over time, security maintenance and repair expenses can easily exceed the original purchase price of the equipment. AAPA has long advocated for Port Security Grants to cover these increasingly onerous costs.”

According to FEMA Information Bulletin #336, routine upkeep such as gasoline, tire replacement, oil changes, monthly inspections, and grounds and facility maintenance, remains the responsibility of the grantee. The new ruling became effective Nov. 20.