Chertoff defends risk-based approach to anti-terror grants
Seaports, rail and bus systems, trucking companies and other private industries at risk of terrorist attack will share nearly a half-billion dollars in anti-terrorism grants this year, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff says.
“We’re investing resources where risk is greatest and where the funds will have the most significant impact,” said Chertoff, responding to critics who complained that the highest-risk cities did not get a big enough share of federal Homeland security money last year, USA Today reports.
Chertoff said the process of deciding which cities would get the grant money this year was driven by threat-based intelligence information and “common sense.”
Chertoff said $445 million will be distributed this spring through five grant programs aimed at helping cities shore up security at vulnerable sites. Port security programs will get the largest share of the money: $210 million. Transit security will receive $172 million.
Within those categories, New York City and its surrounding communities will come out on top when the money goes out.
Chertoff had come under fire from members of Congress who had accused DHS of short-changing New York last year. “We’re glad this is a modest increase in funding for New York City, but we’re still not close to our fair share or what we need,” Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., said.
The following port areas were deemed to be at “highest risk status” and eligible for the most grant money:
* New York-New Jersey, $27.1 million
* New Orleans, $17.3 million
* Houston-Galveston, $15.7 million
* Los Angeles-Long Beach, $14.7 million
* Puget Sound, Wash., $12.2 million
* Delaware Bay, $11.3 million
* San Francisco Bay, $11.2 million
* Sabine-Neches River, Texas, $10.9 million.
Transit systems in eight major urban areas were found to be at highest risk of attack and are eligible for the biggest grants:
* New York-Connecticut-New Jersey, $61 million
* Washington, D.C., and its Maryland and Virginia suburbs, $18.2 million
* Boston, $15.3 million
* San Francisco Bay Area, $13.8 million
* Chicago, $12.8 million
* Philadelphia, $9.7 million
* Greater Los Angeles, $7 million
* Atlanta, $3.4 million.