NATIONAL SEAPORT SECURITY

WHEREAS, U.S. port security is an integral part of homeland defense; and

WHEREAS, U.S. seaports play an important role in the movement of military forces; and

WHEREAS, U.S. seaports handled over $737 billion in containerized cargo last year and the nation's 20 largest ports handle over 95 percent of U.S. international trade; and

WHEREAS, the volume of imported containerized cargo is expected to more than double by the year 2020; and

WHEREAS, U.S. seaports provide for the movement of commerce throughout the nation and the world and therefore are critical to the economy; and

WHEREAS, public seaports generate, both directly and indirectly, significant national economic benefits, including 13 million seaport related jobs, $494 billion in personal income, $5 trillion in business sales, $743 billion to the nation's Gross Domestic Product, and $199.5 billion in federal, state, and local tax revenues; and

WHEREAS, The United States maritime industry includes more than 100 public seaport authorities that are owned and operated by local government that manage and promote the continuous flow of waterborne international commerce; and

WHEREAS, the attacks of September 11th increased awareness of the importance of guarding America's seaports and the need for all ports to have a comprehensive security plans; and

WHEREAS, there is a consensus that protecting international seaport borders should be the responsibility of a partnership of federal, state, local governments, and private industry; and

WHEREAS, there is an immediate need to significantly upgrade the security and infrastructure of our nation's seaports to increase the scrutiny of port traffic and conduct more inspections without slowing the movement of commerce; and

WHEREAS, the Interagency Commission on Crime and Security as U.S. Seaports has estimated that costs for security improvements could range from as much as $12 million to $50 million per seaport; and

WHEREAS, while the $93 million for Seaport Security Grants made available by Congress to the Maritime Administration will help public seaports meet their immediate needs to upgrade existing security infrastructure, public seaports need significant additional federal grant funds to continue their security upgrades,

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that The U.S. Conference of Mayors calls upon the Congress and the Administration to provide flexible federal funds to meet the unique local needs of major U.S. seaports in order to strengthen the security and anti-terrorism efforts of America's cities; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that The U.S. Conference of Mayors supports the creation of a federal grant program to enable ports to utilize new technologies and install security enhancements where their need and utility could be demonstrated; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that The U.S. Conference of Mayors supports the implementation of the new Port Security Grants Program by the Transportation Security Administration to finance security enhancements at national seaports; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Conference encourages the federal government to enhance the communication among ports, local seaport security committees, labor and federal agencies such as the FBI, the U.S. Coast Guard, and the U.S. Customs Service in order for port cities to protect our nation's ports and waterways.