Dems hit Bush over transport security funding

Dems hit Bush over transport security funding

WASHINGTON - Democrats criticized the Bush administration Tuesday for inadequately funding U.S. transportation security as officials gave Congress a progress report as part of the federal government's overall assessment of transportation vulnerability two years after the Sept. 11 attacks.

Sen. Ernest Hollings, D-S.C., estimated adequate federal spending to various agencies to be about $20 billion, an amount that will have be tough to secure considering the weak economy and the $87 billion the administration wants to rebuild Iraq.

Sen. John Breaux, D-La., lambasted the administration for a "huge disconnect" between port security funding needs and the administration's fiscal 2004 budget proposal, which does not specifically fund port security grants.

Those testifying included Robert Bonner, commissioner of Customs and Border Protection; James Loy, the administrator of the Transportation Security Administration; Thomas Collins, the Commandant of the Coast Guard, and Peter Guerrero, director of physical infrastructure issues at the General Accounting Office.

- Ann Saccomano