Homeland Security Watch

News and analysis of critical issues in homeland security

January 9, 2007

DHS announces infrastructure grants

Filed under: Ground Transport Security,Port and Maritime Security — by Christian Beckner on January 9, 2007

DHS released a document today that provides an overview of the FY 2007 infrastructure grant programs at DHS, covering five distinct programs for port security, transit security, truck security, bus security, and buffer zone protection. As was the case with last week’s urban area grants, the port and transit grants allocations are broken up into distinct risk tiers, within which “Tier 1″ high-risk areas will receive approx. 83% of the transit security funding and 60% of the port security funding. Looking at the document, it appears that nearly every Tier 1 transit system or port will receive a significant increase in funding, with the exception of the Louisiana ports. The San Francisco Bay Area ports are up for an especially large increase, from $1.2 million in FY06 to $11.2 million in FY07, a decision that reverses what was a drastic cut in 2006.

Within these programs, Tier 2, 3, or 4 transit systems and ports will have to compete for their allocations from smaller fixed pools of funds. This could lead to cities that were likely on the borderline between Tier 1 and Tier 2 having lower levels of grant funding in 2007, e.g. Seattle’s transit system and the Ports of Baltimore and Charleston.

DHS deserves strong kudos for releasing this document in January, relatively early in fiscal year 2007. By comparison, in FY 2006 this document was not released until the very last week of the fiscal year, a delay that was detrimental to the ability of these transportation systems to manage security activities. Hopefully this is a sign of an better-managed grants process at DHS.

I’ll add a link to the transcript of the press conference announcing these grants when it becomes available.

Update (1/10): The transcript of the press conference is available here. And detailed guidance documents on the port security and transit security grant programs are available here.

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