The deadly attacks of September 11, 2001, brought into sharp focus the need to address the security needs of our state and our nation’s ports. Our nation’s trading system helps the American people lower the costs of trade and create jobs. But it wasbuilt for efficiency, not security. It was designed for a world before September 11th.
Washington state’s economic growth requires improving port security while maintaining the flow of commerce through our state’s many vital ports. I understand this important balance and was a principal author of the SAFE Port Act. This groundbreaking law enhances the security at our nation’s seaports through improved security infrastructure that “pushes out” our nation’s borders and supports added training and exercises for our critical first responders.
As a member of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security, I work to ensure that key port security improvements in the SAFE Port Act are fully funded and implemented by the Department of Homeland Security. As Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, I also work to fund and oversee important Department of Transportation port programs.
It is important to maintain the balance between securing our nation’s ports and ensuring the free flow of trade. Programs such as the Port Security Grant Program, which provides U.S. ports with competitive security enhancement grants, help U.S. ports maintain this balance by providing grant funding for risk-based assessment and compliance with the SAFE Port Act. I am a leading voice in the Senate for maintaining a safe and secure flow of commerce through our state.