Ferries to land security funding

Millions intended for surveillance equipment, bomb-detection devices

Posted: Tuesday, July 08, 2003

ANCHORAGE - Alaska's state ferry system is in line to receive $2.65 million in federal port security funds to buy such equipment as surveillance cameras and explosives detection devices for nine terminals, marine highway officials said Monday.

The state will use the funds for enhancements at terminals in Bellingham, Wash., Whittier, Homer, Juneau, Ketchikan, Haines, Sitka, Skagway and Petersburg, said Jack Meyers, operations manager of the Alaska Marine Highway System.

Meyers said the money will be used to buy terminal surveillance equipment and hand-held explosives detection scanners that can be used on luggage, passengers and vehicles. Funds also could go toward installing additional lighting, fencing and crowd-control barricades.

"We've got our grocery list, and now we have to prioritize that list and go from there," Meyers said. He didn't know when the equipment would be in place.

The money is part of $170 million in port security grants from the Transportation Security Administration awarded to 199 state and local governments, and private companies.

It's the first time Alaska has received funds from the grant program, which funds security planning and projects to improve dockside and perimeter security. Last year, $92 million was awarded through the program.

Other Alaska recipients this year, according to the Transportation Security Administration, include the Alaska Railroad Corp., receiving $437,000; Port of Homer, $167,000; Juneau, about $131,000; Ketchikan, about $62,000; and Petro Star Inc., about $513,000.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security, which oversees the transportation security agency, also awarded Valdez $250,000 for port- security measures. The money is part of $75 million in grants from a supplemental budget to cover security enhancements, training, equipment and planning, federal officials said.



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