Feds boost first-responder funding for localities

The Department of Homeland Security will provide an additional $100 million from the fiscal 2003 budget to seven major urban areas to strengthen their ability to respond to possible terrorist attacks, the department announced Tuesday.

The new funds, which are being distributed under the Urban Area Security Initiative, are in addition to the $566 million the Department of Homeland Security released last month for first-responder needs, such as equipment, training, planning and exercises. Both sets of funds will flow to local governments through the department's Office of Domestic Preparedness.

The cities were chosen based on factors such as density, critical infrastructure and threat and vulnerability assessment, according to the department. They all previously received grants for first responders from the Office of Domestic Preparedness, and are likely to receive funds from the fiscal 2003 supplemental budget request pending in Congress.

The cities are:

*New York City, $24.76 million

*Washington, $18.08 million

*Los Angeles, $12.42 million

*Seattle, $11.20 million

*Chicago, $10.89 million

*San Francisco, $10.74 million

*Houston, $8.63 million

President Bush plans to push more money for first responders to the local level through the fiscal 2003 supplemental budget as well as the fiscal 2004 budget, according to the White House. For example, the president has requested an additional $2 billion in funds from the fiscal 2003 supplemental budget and $3.5 billion from his fiscal 2004 budget request to help states and localities.

About the Author

William Welsh is a freelance writer covering IT and defense technology.

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