Port of Houston Gets Largest Chunk of Latest Security Grants

HOUSTON -- The Port of Houston got the biggest chunk of nearly $142 million in the fifth round of port security grants awarded to 36 U.S. ports by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the agency announced Tuesday.

The Houston port was awarded $35.3 million by the Port Security Grant Program, which funds efforts to protect ports from small craft and underwater attacks and enhance explosive detection capabilities. The Port of Long Beach and the Port of Los Angeles received the second- and third-largest awards of $12.7 million and $11.4 million, respectively.

Two Louisiana ports damaged to varying degrees by Hurricane Katrina also received awards. The Port of New Orleans, which restarted commercial cargo operations Monday, received $2 million. The Port of South Louisiana, which sustained minor structural damage and is 85 percent operational, received $1.1 million. The funds will be held until those ports are ready to implement proposed security projects, the agency said.

Including the grants announced Tuesday, the port security program has awarded $631 million to enhance dockside and perimeter security at U.S. ports in the last five years.

(c) 2005 Associated Press