$7 billion in grants coming

The Homeland Security Department will issue about $6.9 billion in grants to state and local governments in 2004, according to a report released earlier this month by Reston, Va.-based research firm Input Inc.

That figure is down slightly from the $7.3 billion doled out in fiscal 2003.

"There are several cyclical homeland-security grant programs through which the majority of funds are distributed year after year," said Meredith Luttner, manager of public-sector operations at Input.

Accounting for nearly half of the funds distributed to state and local governments in 2003 are three major homeland-security grant programs: the Office of Domestic Preparedness' State Homeland Security Grant Programs, the Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program and the Urban Areas Security Initiative.

These grant programs will be refreshed in 2004 to a total of $3.7 billion, more than half of the total funding available, according to the report.

In 2004, the renamed Homeland Security Grant Program will consolidate the State Homeland Security Grant program with two separate grant projects. A total of $2.2 billion will be set aside for the new program.

The Assistance to Firefighters Program will get $750 million for fiscal 2004. Additionally, $725 million will be available through the Urban Areas Security Initiative grant program.

"Some trends can be identified by looking at these major grant programs in DHS," Luttner said. "Grant programs are being consolidated and a concerted effort is being placed on pushing money to localities through the states."

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