Port Manatee, Fla., Gets $600K Security Grant

Port Manatee's security-improvement efforts have gotten another financial boost from the federal government.

The Transportation Security Administration has awarded the port a $600,000 grant for additional lighting, Manatee County Port Authority members learned Thursday before hiring a Tampa company to begin the project. With the latest award, the port has received $5.3 million in state and federal security grants in the past year.

"We're doing very well in that area," said David McDonald, the port's executive director.

The latest grant will pay 75 percent of the cost for the second phase of the port's lighting-improvement plan, with the port picking up the remainder. Officials have not yet determined the details, but areas along Berth 8 and South Dock Street are considered priorities.

"We're phasing it so we can afford it and doing the most important components of each phase as long as the money's there," McDonald said.

The first phase calls for installing 14 poles and lights at three berths. The authority agreed to buy two poles for $62,199 and hired Southern Power & Controls Corp. for $615,988 to provide the other dozen poles and install all 14.

Work is expected to start within a month and be completed by the end of the year, McDonald said.

Also Thursday, the authority approved a cargo inducement agreement with Kinder Morgan Port Manatee Terminal LLC. Under the agreement, the company will pay regular wharfage fees on the first 100 million short tons it ships through the port this year, then a reduced rate on any tonnage above that. The company said it expects to handle 300 million tons this year and 400 million tons in 2005.