The Port of Baltimore is an economic engine for Maryland and for America. It is responsible for 42,000 maritime-related jobs and more than $6 billion in revenue for our state. Keeping our Port and our people safe from terrorism is one of our top priorities. But we can't keep our Port safe without the proper assistance from the Department of Homeland Security.
We have been fighting to upgrade and protect our Port for more than 20 years. As members of the Appropriations and Budget Committees, we have increased port security funding, but the president's budget cut the program by nearly 50 percent.
While we strongly believe that homeland security grants should be distributed based on risk, we have some questions concerning the distribution of port security grants. We would like to better understand why the Port of Baltimore is categorized as a tier-two port given its proximity to the nation's capital as well as major population centers. Further, we see that eight tier-one ports received approximately $121 million while seventeen tier-two ports received only $40 million. We would like to know what criteria determined the Department's allocation of resources between tiers.
How will you ensure that our ports are safe with these limited resources? How can ports implement their security plans, improve infrastructure, and upgrade technology when federal funds are insufficient and inconsistent from year to year?
Barbara A. Mikulski
Benjamin J. Cardin
U.S. Senators from the State of Maryland