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50 cities to share $850 million for security

Sun., Dec. 5, 2004, midnight

WASHINGTON – Fifty cities will share a fresh infusion of more than $850 million under a Homeland Security program for places at high risk of terrorist attacks, officials said Thursday.

The biggest chunk of funding, nearly a quarter of the total, will be directed toward New York City, which has complained, including at the Republican National Convention, that it has been shortchanged in the distribution of such money.

The list of 50 recipient cities that will share about $854.6 million will be announced late Thursday by the Homeland Security Department.

A copy obtained by the Associated Press shows New York City due to receive $207 million, followed by the Washington area with $77.5 million, Los Angeles with $61.2 million and Chicago with $45 million. All the dollar figures are for the 2005 fiscal year.

Under a new addition to the program, the $850 million will include a total of $25 million for nonprofits in certain cities.

The dramatic boost for New York, which received less than $50 million in the last installment of such funding, was welcome news to those who had urged the government to pay more attention to terrorism worries in heavily populated areas.

The commission investigating the Sept. 11 attacks had urged the government to rethink the way it distributes funding for local authorities trying to prevent terrorism, singling out New York as a city in need of much more help.

In announcing the figures for her state, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., said the increase “is a critical and urgently needed step toward helping us address New York’s many homeland security needs.”

The new distribution marked the first time Fort Worth, Texas, has appeared on the list. It is in line for about $5.4 million.

Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, said that with the extra money coming to Fort Worth, his state would see an increase of about 28 percent in high-threat money.

But the news wasn’t good for everyone. Fresno, Calif., Richmond, Va., and Albany, N.Y., all of which received money through the program in the last cycle, were left off the list this time.

“We are delighted that the administration seems to recognize New York City’s special plight and the fact that New York has been treated unfairly in the past,” said Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y. “Buffalo and Albany deserve more, and we will fight to get them more dollars in the future.”

The federal funds will be directed to state governments, who will then pass them on to the municipalities.


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