The Port of Tampa’s port director and CEO, Richard Wainio, testified on Thursday April 26, before the House Subcommittee on Emergency Preparedness, Response and Communications during a hearing titled “Ensuring the Efficiency, Effectiveness and Transparency of Homeland Security Grants (Part II): Stakeholder Perspectives.”
The subcommittee, chaired by Rep. Gus Bilirakis (R-FL), is a part of the U.S. House of Representatives' Committee on Homeland Security.
Wainio testified on behalf of the American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA), reiterating AAPA messages about the importance of well-funded port security grants and the consequences of merging them with other homeland security programs, as was partially done this year and is proposed to be fully done next year.
In his testimony, Wainio said that the trend of reducing port grant allocations “is troubling and counterproductive,” with the grants being “an essential component in assisting ports to meet important mandates under federal law.” His testimony also highlighted the problems associated with reducing the schedule for completing approved port security projects to two years, rather than the customary three to five years. He went on to focus on the challenges to many ports, including his own, of paying the 25 percent cost-share required of many port security grants.