DHS rolls out a series of grants for the nation's First Responders, cities and states
Heather A. McTavish
Government Relations Associate
APWA Washington Office
Springtime appeared to be lucrative for the country's largest municipalities when it came to their homeland defense budgets. Since Congress passed the Fiscal Year (FY) '03 Budget in February and the FY '03 Supplemental in April, the Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) Office of Domestic Preparedness (ODP) has made nearly $4 billion available in grants to states and cities to assist them in preventing, preparing and responding to terrorism.
$566 million was made available on March 7 to states and cities from the FY '03 budget to assist First Responders. The money was designated for equipment, training, planning and exercises.
$750 million was made available on March 10 to help rural, urban and suburban fire departments better train, prepare and equip themselves.
$100 million was made available on April 8 to specific cities as part of the urban area security initiative component in the FY '03 budget. The money was appropriated to help enhance a local government's ability to secure large, populated areas and its critical infrastructure.
$165 million was made available on April 16 to the states and municipalities from the Supplemental FY '03 budget to help state and local law enforcement pay for equipment, planning, training and exercises. The money was also designated to help decrease cost overruns associated with enhanced security measures during heightened threat periods.
$700 million was made available from the FY '03 Supplemental Budget on May 14 to enhance the security of 30 urban areas. Selection was based on a formula developed by the Department of Homeland Security that takes into account threat information, critical infrastructure, and population density. $223 million has been made available to New York City and its outlying areas since September 11. $76 million has been made available in the form of grants to Washington, D.C. since September 11.
$75 million will be provided to ports in the U.S. deemed high-threat. The top five high-threat ports are New York/New Jersey, Seattle, Miami, Port Canaveral, FL and San Juan, Puerto Rico. Allowed uses for those funds include:
$15 million will be made available through a discretionary grant program for the development of projects that would affect high density urban areas, high-threat areas, and for the protection of critical infrastructure.
$10 million would be allocated to provide technical assistance to state and local jurisdictions receiving funding under the critical infrastructure protection program. This assistance would be in the form of direct services and would include, but not be limited to, interoperable communications assistance, assistance with conducting assessments, assistance with developing emergency operations and site security plans, implementation of the radiological defense system, and development and conduct of exercises.
Additional homeland security funding could become available to states and cities. The President's FY '04 budget request includes over $3.5 billion in grants to help states and cities prepare and respond to terrorism. APWA will continue to monitor the activities of DHS to determine if and when dollars are or become available to municipalities.
Heather McTavish can be reached at (202) 408-9541 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.