The Port of Beaumont Friday secured almost $2 million in the latest round of federal funding going toward homeland security. Improvements to security lighting at the military cargo staging area and provisions to make port access tighter will be paid by the $1.8 million Department of Homeland Security grant.
"This will make the port a much harder target for any potential terrorism or other criminal activity and just will enhance the overall security of the Port of Beaumont," said Chris Fisher, port director.
He said an overwhelming number of agencies applied for the $49 million in grant money being handed out. Receiving the money shows the federal department recognizes the important role the port plays in homeland security, Fisher said.
U.S. Rep. Nick Lampson, D-Beaumont, announced on Friday that money would be headed to both Beaumont and Galveston.
"Three years after the tragedy of 9-11, port security remains the Achilles heel of the war on terror," he said in a prepared statement.
"Among its recommendations, the 9-11 Commission asked that we close gaps in security and implement better communication among civilian authorities, and that's exactly what projects funded by these grants want to accomplish."
The port already is working on enhancing security. Those improvements include additional camera surveillance systems and installing an automated intrusion system and fencing upgrades, Fisher said in a phone interview.