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    LB To Get $6.46 Million In Fed'l Homeland Security Grant Money Allocated Nationally To Urban Areas With High Density Population & Critical Infrastructure; Ports of L.A.-LB Will Get Approx. $9 Million

    (May 14, 2003, updated with Mayor, City Mgr. reaction) -- LB City Hall and the Ports of L.A.-LB will get several million dollars in Congressionally funded grant money allocated by the U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security "to enhance the security of urban areas with high density population areas and critical infrastructure."

    The Homeland Security Dept. announced the allocations today from funds contained in Congress' FY 03 Supplemental Budget. In a written release, the Homeland Security Dept. indicates the City of Long Beach will receive $6.46 million, part of $500 million in "formula grants." The agency release says:

    $500 million will be provided through the states to 30 cities and their contiguous counties and mutual aid partners. The cities have been determined based on a formula developed by the Department of Homeland Security that takes into account, threat information, critical infrastructure, and population density. Allowable uses of funds would include, but not be limited to, operational activities conducted during the heightened alert level from January 2003 through April 2003, critical infrastructure security, training, exercises, equipment, and information sharing. Funding allocations among the cities, contiguous counties and mutual aid partners will be based on an urban area assessment and preparedness plan.

    Other cities receiving formula grants include New York City ($125 million, on top of $25 million previously allocated to NYC in the first round of Urban Area Security Initiative Funds) and Los Angeles ($18.87 million on top of $12.51. million in the first grant round).

    The Ports of Los Angeles-Long Beach will receive just over $9.076 million, part of $75 million allocated nationally in Port security grants:

    $75 million would be provided directly to selected high threat ports in the country and certain Liberty Shield port areas. Allowable uses of funds for the ports would include, but not be limited to operational activities conducted during ORANGE alert from January 2003 through April 2003, critical infrastructure security, security enhancements, training, exercises, equipment, planning, and information sharing. Each port would allocate funds based on an approved Transportation Security Administration and/or United States Coast Guard vulnerability self-assessments in accordance with the Maritime Transportation Security Act."

    [update] On learning of the grant awards, LB Mayor Beverly O'Neill said in a written release:

    "The awarding of the $6.5 million grant to the City of Long Beach for first responders and the $9 million grant that will be shared by the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles is great news for our entire region. These grants will help ensure that those extraordinary safety measures put into place to protect our citizens are sustained. We thank Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge for his leadership in recognizing the critical need for these security precautions in major metropolitan areas."

    City Manager Gerald R. Miller added in the city release, "We are encouraged by this important announcement that recognizes the need for funding for our first responders. Funding of this kind is essential to the security of the city and the region." [end update]

    Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge said in a Department of Homeland Security release:

    "One of the most important responsibilities of the Department of Homeland Security is to enhance the capabilities of our nation's first responders and first preventers who devote themselves to preventing terrorism and responding to emergencies. These grants demonstrate our strong commitment to provide assistance to the men and women on the front lines of the war against terrorism. The dissemination of this funding takes into account threats, population density and the presence of critical infrastructure which will best help to secure our homeland in an environment where we must ensure maximum benefit is derived from every security dollar."

    The L.A. Metropolitan Transit Authority will also receive $4.577 million, part of $65 million "provided through the States to the highest risk transit systems in the country."

    States could use 20 percent of the award for each transportation agency to complement state assets at those sites. Allowable uses of funds would include installation of physical barricades, area monitoring systems such as video surveillance, motion detectors, thermal/IR imagery and chemical/radiological material detection systems, integrated communications systems, prevention planning, training and exercises. operational activities conducted during ORANGE alert from January 2003 through April 2003 (overtime, limited to 10 percent of the gross award).

    The Homeland Security Dept. is also allocating $35 million for Radiological Defense Systems in the NY/NJ metropolitan area ($30 million) and the Charleston, SC Metro Area ($5 million), part of a "Radiological Dispersion Device/Improvised Nuclear Device Project" run out of Border and Transportation Security within DHS.

    "This program would immediately enhance the radiological detection capabilities of these areas and begin the process of establishing a layered and linked system of fixed radiological sensors around the heart of each region. This program would work with Federal, state and local partners to improve detection, prevention, response, mitigation, and recovery through training, equipping, and coordinating from a broad perspective," the agency release said.

    The Feds will also make $15 million available through a discretionary grant program for the development of projects that would affect unspecified high density urban areas, high-threat areas, and for the protection of critical infrastructure.

    $10 million will also be allocated to provide technical assistance to state and local jurisdictions receiving funding under this program. This assistance would be in the form of direct services and would include, but not be limited to, interoperable communications assistance, assistance with conducting assessments, assistance with developing emergency operations and site security plans, implementation of the radiological defense system, and development and conduct of exercises.

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