DHS Announces Close to $400 Million in Grants Available to Secure the Nation’s Critical Infrastructure
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced yesterday that nearly $400 million in Fiscal Year 2006 grants will be made available to strengthen the nations ability to prevent, protect against, respond to and recover from terrorist attacks, major disasters and other emergencies that could impact this countrys critical infrastructure. The funding will be dispersed through the DHS Office of Grants and Trainings Infrastructure Protection Program.
The Infrastructure Protection Program provides the means to move forward in developing sustainable, risk-based critical infrastructure security initiatives for man-made and natural threats that could potentially have devastating impacts on the economy and communities throughout the nation, said DHS Under Secretary for Preparedness George Foresman. These grant funds will provide tangible investments that extend beyond federal dollars to enhance Americas preparedness.
Direct Critical Infrastructure Grant Allocations
The infrastructure grants will be divided among seven programs that constitute major critical infrastructure sectors ranging from transportation modes to the nations ports. Allocation totals have been determined for five of the programs: Transit Security Grant Program (intracity rail, bus, and ferry systems), Buffer Zone Protection Program, Chemical Sector Buffer Zone Protection Grant Program, Intercity Passenger Rail Security Grant Program and the Trucking Security Program. The specific programs that will be receiving direct allocation funding are the following:
Transit Security Grant Program: The Infrastructure Protection Grant Program will provide more than $136 million to the owners and operators of the nations critical transit infrastructure including rail, intracity bus and ferry systems. Of that total, $123 million will be allocated to Tier 1 urban areas, whose systems have been determined to be most at risk based on factors including total ridership, underground rail systems, and underwater systems. Urban areas that received funds in previous years, but were not named in Tier 1, will be able to apply for the remaining Transit Security Grant funds. Eligibility for funding is limited to those who provide services within a defined Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI) jurisdiction. Prior to FY06, more than $252 million had been provided through the Transit Security Grant Program.
Buffer Zone Protection Program Grants: The Buffer Zone Protection Program provides grant funding to build security and risk-management capabilities at the state and local level to secure critical infrastructure including chemical facilities, nuclear and electric power plants, dams, stadiums, arenas and other high-risk areas. Specifically, the program helps to implement buffer zone programs by providing funds to support planning and equipment acquisition. In FY06, this program will award approximately $48 million in grant funds to state and local authorities. In this program, local jurisdictions work with the states to create Buffer Zone Plans which outline protective measures to be undertaken around designated facilities. Those Buffer Zone Plans are submitted to DHS, evaluated and approved before the state can then drawdown allocated funds. From 2004-2005, the Buffer Zone Protection Program has received more than $91 million.
Chemical Sector Buffer Zone Protection Grant Program: The Chemical Sector Buffer Zone Protection Grant Program is a targeted effort that provides funds to build security and risk-management capabilities at the state and local level for chemical sector critical infrastructure from acts of terror and other hazards. Chemical Sector Buffer Zone funding is specifically focused on enhancing the protection of facilities that, if attacked, could cause Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)-like effects. In FY06, the Chemical Buffer Zone Protection Program will provide $25 million.
Intercity Passenger Rail Security Grant Program: Amtrak will be awarded more than $7.2 million to continue security enhancements for intercity passenger rail operations in the Northeast Corridor (service between Washington, DC and Boston), Amtraks hub in Chicago and to expand these enhancements into the West Coast Service Area in key, high-risk urban areas. DHS is requiring Amtrak to conduct a risk assessment of its West Coast Service Area and demonstrate that its allocation of funds is fully coordinated with regional planning efforts in the Northeast Corridor. DHS has provided more than $6 million through the Intercity Passenger Rail Security Grant Program to date.
Trucking Security Program: The American Trucking Association will receive $4.8 million for the Highway Watch program to continue as a sustainable national program to enhance security and overall preparedness on our nations highways. The Highway Watch program, managed by the American Trucking Association, recruits and trains highway professionals to identify and report security and safety situations on the nations roads. The grant priorities of the Trucking Security Program include participant identification and recruitment; ensuring that the Highway Watch Program addresses homeland security and safety issues in conjunction with the National Preparedness Goal; maintaining a full-time Highway Watch Call Center; and operating and maintaining the Information Sharing and Analysis Center (ISAC). To date, DHS has provided more than $45 million through the Trucking Security Program.
Critical Infrastructure Grant Eligibility Lists Eligibility lists have been determined for the Port Security Grant Program and the Intercity Bus Security Grant Program. Critical infrastructure owners and operators within these specific sectors will have to meet grant eligibility requirements and apply for the FY06 infrastructure grant funding. Final award decisions will be made in September 2006. The specific programs that will be receiving funding are the following:
Port Security Grant Program: More than $168 million will be provided for port security grants to create sustainable, risk-based efforts for the protection of critical port infrastructure from terrorism. The nations 100 most critical seaports, representing 95 percent of the foreign waterborne commerce of the United States, plus an additional seaport eligible in 2005, are eligible to participate in the port grant program. From 2002 to 2005, DHS provided more than $706 million through this program.
Intercity Bus Security Grant Program: Approximately $9.5 million will be provided to eligible owners and operators of fixed route intercity and charter bus services to protect bus systems and the traveling public from terrorism. The program priorities for the FY06 grants include facility security enhancements in defined UASI jurisdictions; driver and vehicle security enhancements; emergency communications technology; coordination with local police and emergency responders; and training and exercises. To date, DHS has provided over $39 million through the Intercity Bus Security Grant Program.
The infrastructure protection grants consider threat, vulnerability and consequences, and recognize the unique characteristics of our nations seaports, transit systems and other critical infrastructure assets. Since its inception, the Infrastructure Protection Grant Program has awarded over $1.1 billion to critical infrastructure sectors for protective measures. The grant application process for the programs which direct allocations have not yet been determined will get underway on July 6, 2006. Infrastructure grant applicants will have 30 days to submit their proposals to DHS. Awards will be made no later than September 30.
For information on allocations and eligible applicants, please visit the Office of Grants and Training at http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/odp/grants_programs.htm.