The Arizona Republic has a story today that discusses efforts by state and local officials to keep Phoenix on the list of cities eligible for the Urban Area Security Initiative. Last January, eleven cities were put on notice that they didn’t make the risk cut-off for the UASI grant program: Phoenix, Sacramento, San Diego, Tampa, Louisville, Baton Rouge, Omaha, Las Vegas, Buffalo, Toledo, and Oklahoma City. These cities were still funded in 2006, but are now subject to be dropped from the UASI program unless they can now prove that they are worthy based on the riskiness of the cities’ assets. This story discusses Arizona’s pitch on that point:
“Phoenix is the country’s fifth-largest city, contains the world’s sixth-busiest airport, and is within 50 miles from the country’s largest nuclear power plant,” McCain wrote. “Phoenix is also one of the country’s top tourist destinations, hosting more than 12 million domestic and international visitors and over 500 conventions each year. . . . Phoenix is neighbor to Luke Air Force Base and less than 200 miles from the U.S.-Mexico border.”
Gordon also points out that the region hosts major sporting events, such as the Super Bowl in 2008.
Some of the eleven cities do deserve to be dropped from the list of UASI recipient cities; the only two that I think have an ironclad case for continued inclusion are Las Vegas and San Diego. Phoenix, Tampa, and Buffalo have the next-best cases to make, and a chance of surviving the cut. The other six cities have a harder sell to make, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see all of them drop off the list of UASI recipients.