Charleston, S.C., Port Still Waiting on 25 Percent of Security Dollars

CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) - The State Ports Authority in Charleston has not received about $2.6 million of the $10 million it requested from the federal government for security projects, spokesman Byron Miller says.

The money already obtained has paid for a number of initiatives, but the Ports Authority also needs money for fencing, lighting, intrusion-detection devices and other security measures, Miller said.

"You have to look at the port as a gateway to the rest of the country,'' Charleston County Sheriff Cannon said. ``I don't know that funding for the ports has received the attention it deserves.''

The authority thinks money for the upgrades could come from customs duties earmarked for port security, Miller said.

"Unless there is some new federal funding source, I don't think anyone in the industry sees funding dramatically increasing,'' Miller said.

Charleston is the fourth-largest container port in the country, but that hasn't translated into more money from the Department of Homeland Security.

South Carolina ranked 41st in the county in per-capita funding from the federal agency in the 2005 fiscal year, getting an average of $6.41 per person, according to figures compiled by the Congressional Research Service.

Wyoming, Alaska, North Dakota and Vermont lead the way, with Wyoming, the state with the fewest people, receiving $27.80 for every resident. Virginia is last with $5.23 per capita, just behind North Carolina at $5.61.

Cannon points out that the states getting the most money are among those with the smallest populations.

In raw numbers, South Carolina will get $26 million from the Department of Homeland Security in 2005, while Wyoming will get only $13.9 million.