The Department of Homeland Security announced its plans today for the collection of infrastructure-related grant programs in FY 2006. The plans are detailed in this summary document, and the transit security allocations are broken out in this spreadsheet.
Overall, the decisions made today look fair and well-reasoned. For the transit security grants, the NYC metro area will receive 41% of total funds, and six other metro areas (DC, Philly, Boston, LA, SF, Chicago) receive another 50% of the total – an appropriate distribution. The allocations for the port security grants have not yet been made; ports need to now apply for them. DHS decided to carve a new line item for chemical security grants out of the Buffer Zone Protection Program, and has appropriately awarded $25 million for such grants, focused on states such as New Jersey and Texas that have large concentrations of chemical facilities.
One oddity in the general Buffer Zone Protection Program: North Dakota and South Dakota both receive grants of $500,000, more than many larger states (e.g. Colorado, Connecticut, Oregon, and Wisconsin all at $189,000), and they are the only two states whose grant allocations are NOT a multiple of $189k. What explains this?
My only real critique of the announcement today is why it took so long. Last year, most of these same grants were awarded in the spring of 2005. By pushing this announcement into the last quarter of the fiscal year (and intending not to award some of these funds until near the end of it), the Department makes it difficult for ports and transit systems to plan and budget for their security activities in an effective manner.