The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has awarded New York State $245 million for four homeland security grants programs, a 54 percent increase from 2007 levels. Included in this amount is $175.38 million for transit security projects. DHS agreed to boost New York's 2008 transit security grant allocation from an initial award of $153.3 million to $175.38 million. The Metropolitan Transportation Administration (MTA) will use the additional $22 million to harden and secure the region's suspension bridges. For the four major grants, New York State received 29.6 percent of the entire national award.
In February 2008, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff announced that New York City would receive $153.3 million in federal transit funding. Following February's announcement, Deputy Secretary for Public Safety Michael Balboni made the case to the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) that the security risks associated with New York's suspension bridges necessitated funding above the $153.3 million. TSA agreed and DHS today announced they will provide New York with an additional $22 million in transit grants. The $175.28 million represents about 53 percent of the national total for high-risk areas.
"The $153 million in transit security funding awarded in February was a tremendous boost for New York State," said Governor David A. Paterson. "But today's announcement of an additional $22 million is another giant step toward our state's overall security plan and one that will ensure we has the funding necessary to help us carry out the critical task of securing our homeland."
"We made a compelling case to TSA that the MTA needed more resources this year to improve security at its suspension bridges," Deputy Secretary Balboni said. "I am pleased TSA agreed to work with us to increase the transit security award, and I want to thank TSA Administrator Hawley and Secretary Chertoff for their continued collaboration. They both understand that homeland security grants must be awarded based on risk, which is why New York will now receive more than half of the nation's transit grant funding."
"We are pleased that the federal government has responded with these critical funds," said Director F. David Sheppard of the New York State Office of Homeland Security (OHS). "This award represents a risk-based approach that also recognizes the manner in which New York State has worked in partnership with mass transit stakeholders to prioritize security objectives."
DHS also announced today that New York's share of 2008 port security grant funding would increase 14 percent over last year's allocation to $49.8 million. The New York-New Jersey port will receive $45.5 million, an increase from the $42.1 million it received in 2007. The Port of Albany will receive $2,049,264, an increase from the $378,998 it received in 2007. The Port of Buffalo will see an increase to $1,495,294 from the $531,569 it received in 2007. Other port areas in New York State will also receive $837,000 in port security grant funds. The state's share of buffer zone protection funding for 2008 remained even with an award of $4.4 million. The Buffer Zone Protection Program provides grants to build security and risk-management capabilities at critical infrastructure sites throughout the state. The state will also receive $13.2 million in emergency management grants, a 16 percent increase over 2007 funding which was $11.3 million.
"My administration will continue to work with our Congressional Delegation and DHS to maximize the resources that flow to New York. I want to thank our partners in Congress and Secretary Chertoff for working together to better prepare and protect New York," Governor Paterson added.