Department of Homeland Security Offers $725 Million for Urban Area Security Initiative

The Department of Homeland Security will utilize an additional $725 million from the FY 2004 budget for the Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI). The money will be used for grants to urban areas to help enhance their overall security and preparedness level to prevent, respond and recover from acts of terrorism.

The funds are being made available in addition to the nearly $800 million that the department's Office for Domestic Preparedness awarded during FY 2003 specifically for urban areas.

"The funds will go to the designated states, which will then work with counties and cities to form regions that will work together through mutual aid agreements, interoperable communications, statewide intelligence centers and community and citizen participation," said Secretary of Homeland Security Tom Ridge. "Our goal is to ensure that all of these necessary elements are communicating and coordinating to prevent a crisis and to be ready if one occurs."

To ensure that homeland security funding is directed to the areas with greater security needs, $675 million will be allocated in the form of grants through the states to urban areas selected by the Department of Homeland Security to enhance their overall security and preparedness level to prevent, respond and recover from acts of terrorism. The urban areas are chosen based on a formula that takes into account factors including critical infrastructure, population density and credible threat information.

Funding allocations among the cities, contiguous counties and mutual aid partners will be based on an urban area assessment and strategic plan. Eighty percent of the funds allocated to the state under this program must be awarded to the designated cities and contiguous counties within the urban area based on the strategic plan. The state may use the remaining 20 percent for further security enhancements within the urban area.

Some $50 million has been allocated in the form of grants through the states for mass transit security agencies across the country to help the agencies enhance the security of its assets and passengers. These transit systems were determined based upon the number of annual riders and overall track mileage. Allowable uses of funds would include installation of physical barricades, area monitoring systems such as; video surveillance, motion detectors, thermal/IR imagery and chemical/radiological material detection systems, integrated communications systems and prevention planning, training and exercises. If not already completed, each transit system would be required to conduct an assessment and preparedness plan on which to base resource allocations.

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