Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Another view of Port Security

Another view of Port Security efforts found here, at the level where the rubber meets the road:
Proposed regulations to beef up security at Port Canaveral are not only unrealistic but could be financially devastating if implemented, local officials and small business representatives told two federal lawmakers Monday.

Payne joined about 50 people at the Cocoa Civic Center on Monday morning for a two-hour forum on port security. Feeney and Weldon sponsored the event, which included comments by local and state officials and business representatives on how best to balance security with commercial interests at Port Canaveral.

Officials estimate that Port Canaveral has a $1.5 billion local economic impact, $2.3 billion for the region and $3.9 billion for the state.

No revelations or solutions were brought forth at the forum. Rather, it was chance for some to air their grievances and provide Feeney and Weldon with anecdotes to take to Washington.

Security eats up about nearly 20 percent of the Port Authority's annual budget. Prior to the 9-11 terrorist attacks, it was closer to 4 percent, Payne said.

Small businesses -- restaurateurs, commercial fishing operations and charter boat operators -- said they are being
squeezed by overly stringent security requirements.

And slowing traffic at the port because of even tighter security regulations for cruise ships and cargo commerce could pinch incoming revenue, officials said.

Feeney and Weldon said changing the mindset of federal lawmakers is an arduous task.

"Congress seems to have two speeds," Feeney told the assembled group. "We either do nothing or we overreact."

Photo from Port Canaveral website.

No comments:

Post a Comment