Ruppersberger Is Outraged at 60% Cut in Funds for the Port of Baltimore
(Washington, D.C.)- Congressman C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger (D-MD) is outraged at the 60% cut in funds for the Port of Baltimore. Last year, the Port received $4.8 million as part of the Port Security Grant Program within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). This year, the Port received $1.9 million.
The Port of Baltimore is one of Maryland’s largest economic engines. The Port is responsible for about 128,000 jobs and handles 40.5 million tons of cargo each year worth $36 billion. The Department of Homeland Security, run by the Bush Administration, considers the Port of Baltimore a “second-tier port” even though it is the closest deep water port to the nation’s capital, the White House, the Pentagon, and the National Security Agency. In addition, the Port is located along Interstate 95, the major north-south route on the East Coast. Six “first-tier ports” compete for $120 million while seventeen “second-tier ports” compete for a third of that, only $40 million.
“This is outrageous. The Port of Baltimore is being shortchanged. The potential terrorist threats to the Port of Baltimore, the Maryland economy, and the nation’s capital have not decreased from last year to this year. When is the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) going to get it right? They continue to lack a thorough understanding of potential terrorist threat to the Maryland area. I believe the Port of Baltimore is a ‘first-tier port’ and I’m going to urge DHS to change its status. It does not make any sense to equate the Port of Baltimore with inland maritime areas and ports in places such as Kentucky, Missouri, Indiana or Wisconsin,” said Congressman C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger (D-MD).
In the FY 2008 budget, President Bush proposed cutting state homeland security grant programs by 52%. Congressman Ruppersberger supported the move to restore those cuts in the DHS Authorization bill passed by the House on May 9, 2007.
Congressman C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger is a member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and the Appropriations Committee. The Congressman is also a co-chair of the Congressional Port Security Caucus. In addition, the Port of Baltimore is in Maryland’s 2nd Congressional District.