The Washington Post reported on the UASI grant decisions this afternoon with a story headlined “DHS to Slash Anti-Terror Funds for NY, District”:
The two cities attacked on Sept. 11, 2001, will receive far less antiterrorism money under plans unveiled today by the Department of Homeland Security, which has designated more money for many smaller cities throughout the country.
Washington and New York will receive 40 percent less in urban grant money compared to last year, with Washington dropping from $77 million to $46 million and New York falling from $207 million to $124 million, DHS officials said. The combined total means that the two areas bear almost the entire brunt of a $120 million cut in the overall budget for the program, the statistics show.
This last sentence is not exactly true. The chart below provides a comparison of UASI grant awards in FY 2005 and FY 2006 (click here to enlarge):
It’s difficult to spot any clear trends in these funding changes – the increases and decreases seem fairly evenly distributed between regions of the country, big vs. small cities, and red states vs. blue states. My sense is that the differences are primarily a function of the quality of cities’ and regions’ funding applications. Those cities that showed clear plans and demonstrable needs received plus-ups. Those cities that didn’t received cuts. Also, the fact that certain cities already have made critical one-time capital investments may have played a role, and led DHS to believe that baseline security could be maintained even with a reduction in funding.
Update (5/31): Upon closer examination, one clear trend: the state of Florida made out very well. Does this indicate that hurricane preparedness now has a much larger role in these grant decisions? Sec. Chertoff hinted at this possibility back in January:
Well, this program is tied to risk of terror, so we’re — within the terms of the program. But the kinds of capabilities that we are considering to be appropriate as needs-based funding are capabilities that would certainly do double duty in the case of catastrophes. So, for example, capabilities to evacuate people would obviously have relevance in a terrorism case with a certain kind of attack, but would also have relevance in a natural disaster of a certain kind.
…but on the flipside of this argument, funding was cut for Houston, New Orleans, and Baton Rouge.