DHS unveils new anti-terrorism grants

New federal grants are being distributed for ports, transit and intercity bus systems protection to strengthen the country’s ability to prevent and respond to terrorist attacks, major disasters and other emergencies, the Homeland Security Department has announced.

DHS said the awards are part of the Infrastructure Protection Program (IPP), which constitutes seven major critical infrastructure sectors. In July, DHS awarded grants to four sectors: the Buffer Zone Protection, Chemical Buffer Zone Protection, Intercity Rail Transit and the Trucking Security programs.

DHS said the fiscal 2006 IPP grants total $399 million.

The latest awards will go to the Port Security Grant Program, Transit Security Grant Program and Intercity Bus Security Grant Program.

DHS cited the funding allocations as follows:

  • Port Security Grant Program
    More than $168 million will be provided to create sustainable, risk-based efforts for the protection of critical port infrastructure from terrorism.

    Fifty of 100 eligible ports on the Coast Guard’s most-critical seaport list, and one port not on that list, will receive funding to enhance security measures at the port facilities.

    The ports were grouped into four tiers, with Tier 1 representing the highest risk and Tier 4 the lowest. Funding was awarded for specific projects within each port area based on its relative risk and the relationship of each project to identified port security priorities, DHS said.

    Since 2002, the department has provided more than $876 million to enhance security at the critical ports and maritime facilities.

  • Transit Security Grant Program
    DHS is providing more than $136 million to owners and operators of the country’s critical transit infrastructure. Eligible rail, intercity bus and ferry systems were divided into two tiers based on risk formulas encompassing threat, vulnerability and consequences measurements.

    Last July, DHS allocated $123 million to Tier 1 urban areas of high passenger density and rail systems with significant infrastructures such as underwater tunnels and underground stations and all ferry systems.

    DHS is releasing $13 million for Tier 2 areas, with an emphasis on prevention and detection of improvised explosive devices (IEDs). In addition, eligible Tier 2 transit systems were permitted to focus on other priorities, including emergency drills, employee training and public awareness programs that support overall system preparedness.

  • Intercity Bus Security Grant Program
    For the Intercity Bus Security Grant Program DHS is allocating about $9.5 million to eligible owners and operators of fixed-route intercity and charter bus services. The fiscal 2006 grants place a strong emphasis on prevention and detection of IEDs. To date, DHS has provided more than $48 million through the Intercity Bus Security Grant Program.

IPP “helps to protect our nation’s critical infrastructure from threats and hazards that could cause major loss of life, economic impact, and disruption of services,” said DHS Secretary Michael Chertoff, in the announcement. “These resources will further enhance risk-based initiatives to increase security around vital assets ranging from ports, to chemical facilities, to transportation systems.”

“The IPP grants also represent a major step forward in how the department integrates expert input and risk-based formulas into the allocation of limited resources,” he said.

The complete list of grants and recipients is available at here in PDF format.

About the Author

David Hubler is the former print managing editor for GCN and senior editor for Washington Technology. He is freelance writer living in Annandale, Va.

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