The Houston area will receive $15.7 million in federal funds to help increase security at local ports. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has tagged $445 million in grants for “infrastructure protection initiatives” by state and local government as well as private industry.

The Port of Houston is one of eight ports that qualify for Tier 1 – or highest risk – status. Others include New York-New Jersey (which will get the largest share), and ports in New Orleans area that were destroyed by the hurricanes. Before receiving the funds, ports (and other recipients) will need to submit plans on how they plan to use the money to reduce the risk of a terrorist attack.

In addition to the port security grants, the 2007 Infrastructure Protection Program (IPP) includes grants for transit systems, buffer zones, intercity bus systems and trucking organizations. Programs to increase security in the nation’s port and transit systems will receive the most funding, as they were deemed to hold the highest levels of risk.

This year’s funding for the IPP is $46 million higher than in 2006.