Metro regions get Homeland Security grants

Urban Area Security Initative: FY '04 Allocations

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Fifty major metropolitan areas, including several transit agencies, will get an additional $725 million to help improve security and readiness to respond to terrorist acts, the federal government announced.

The Homeland Security Department will provide $675 million in grants to urban areas based on critical infrastructure, population density and credible threat intelligence information. Allocations among cities, contiguous counties and mutual aid partners will be based on the area's assessment and strategic plan.

The funds will be funneled through state governments, which must pass on 80 percent to designated cities. States can use the remaining 20 percent for further security enhancements.

"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 DHS Secretary Tom Ridge.

Additionally, major mass transit systems in 14 states and the District of Columbia will get $50 million to enhance security. The systems were chosen based on number of annual riders and overall track mileage. Each transit system will be required to conduct an assessment and preparedness plan if it hasn't already.

Transit agencies can use funds for physical barricades, integrated communications systems, prevention planning, training and exercises, and monitoring, including video surveillance, motion detectors, thermal/Infrared imagery and chemical/radiological material detection systems.

Earlier this year, the federal government provided at least $700 million for high-threat urban areas.

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