A $202,000 grant to the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority was among $275 million in security grants to ports across the United States that the federal Department of Homeland Security announced yesterday.
The grant will pay for relocating the guard shack and gate at the Port of Toledo's international cargo docks on the Maumee River, and for fence upgrades or replacement at those docks and at the port authority-owned Toledo Shipyard, Seaport Director Warren McCrimmon said. “I'll take these dollars and stretch them as far as I can,” Mr. McCrimmon said.
Also in Ohio, the homeland security department provided a $400,000 grant to the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority, and $175,000 to Dow Chemical Co., which has Ohio River port facilities in Ironton.
“Providing adequate resources to our first line of defense, whether it's in water, land, or air, is crucial to ensure our nation's greatest security,” U.S. Sen. George Voinovich (R., Ohio) said. “Our port authorities play an important role in ensuring our safety, and this additional funding will further assist their important mission.”
U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D., Toledo) said the local grant is a credit to the port authority. “They were aggressive, they were at the table” pursuing federal grant dollars, she said. “They didn't let our tax dollars go to some other region of the country.”
The grant came from funds Congress appropriated during fiscal 2002, she said, and more such money may be available during the current fiscal year.
Mr. McCrimmon said the port authority has applied for additional funds that, if awarded, will be used for security cameras and other monitoring devices at port-operated facilities.
Most of the federal funds are targeted to coastal ports that have high volumes of cargo-container traffic, considered to be the highest risk because of containers' potential use by terrorists to smuggle men or materiel into the country.
But Great Lakes ports can't afford to let their guard down, either, Mr. McCrimmon said.
If Toledo's facilities don't look properly guarded, “that might encourage somebody to do something silly,” he said. “Although it's a low threat, we take it seriously.”