- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 13, 2003

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security yesterday awarded $725 million in grants to cities, counties and mass transit agencies to bolster security and terrorism preparedness — including a $29.3 million grant for the National Capital Region comprising the District, Maryland and Virginia.

About $675 million of the grant money went to cities, while about $50 million was awarded to mass transit systems, including $2.8 million to Metro, $1.03 million to the Maryland Rail Commuter service (MARC) and $800,000 to the Maryland Department of Transportation.

“The Department of Homeland Security is pleased to be able to build upon the administration’s vision to enhance security capabilities from the ground up and to form strong regional partnerships to create a foundation of shared leadership and shared responsibility,” said Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge.

“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.”

Mr. Ridge said the goal of the grants program is to ensure that “all of these necessary elements are communicating and coordinating to prevent a crisis and to be ready if one occurs.”

The funds are being made available in addition to the nearly $800 million that the department’s Office for Domestic Preparedness awarded earlier this year, specifically for urban areas.

Homeland Security officials said the urban areas were chosen based on a formula that takes into account several factors, including critical infrastructure, population density and credible threat intelligence information. Funding allocations among the cities, contiguous counties and mutual-aid partners were based on an urban area assessment and strategic plan.

According to the officials, 80 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 security enhancements within the urban area.

The transit systems were determined based on the number of annual riders and overall track mileage. Allowable uses of funds include installation of physical barricades; area monitoring systems such as video surveillance, motion detectors, thermal imagery and chemical or radiological material detection systems; integrated communications systems; and prevention planning, training and exercises.

Each transit system would be required to conduct an assessment and preparedness plan on which to base resource allocations, the officials said.

Sign up for Daily Newsletters

Copyright © 2019 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide