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Senators ask Homeland Security secretary to boost New York’s share of critical anti-terror funding

WASHINGTON - U.S. Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand urged U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson to provide New York with a boost in anti-terror funding given that the federal budget this year for state and local homeland security funding increased by an estimated 16 percent. New York City remains the top terror target in the nation and federal funds are used to protect New York’s transit systems, ports and urban non-profits against security threats and terrorist attacks. With this year’s additional available funding for programs such as the State Homeland Security Grant Program and the Urban Areas Security Initiative (UASI), Schumer and Gillibrand are pushing for New York to receive a proportional increase from the state’s $287 million allocation in risk-based funding last year. New York remains the top target for terrorists attempting to do harm in America – there have been more than fifteen known plots to attack buildings and major transit hubs throughout New York City since 9/11.

Senators Schumer and Gillibrand also called for serious consideration of New York applications for competitive grant programs, including the UASI Nonprofit Security Grant Program, Port Security Grant Program, and Transportation Security Grant Program. The lawmakers pointed out that reducing anti-terror funding could weaken New York’s ability to support its counterterrorism efforts and safeguard its infrastructure.

“Now that the Department of Homeland Security has more funding at its disposal to put towards protecting our transit system, ports, and other high-risk targets, New York should receive more from DHS than we have been allocated in the past. Under no circumstances should the funding provided to us remain stagnant,” said Schumer. “We are the number-one target for terrorists, and these federal funds play a critical role in helping us successfully protect our most vulnerable targets across the city and the state. The level of funding we get helps keep millions of people safe every day, and it should continue to increase now that more funds are available.”
 
“New York City remains the top terror target in the nation and we must continue to be vigilant in investing federal resources to keep us safe,” said  Gillibrand. “Maintaining these critical anti-terror funds will help arm law enforcement and non-profits with the tools needed to protect New York families.”
 
For this fiscal year, Congress has allocated a total of approximately $1.5 billion for state and local anti-terror programs through U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) – an increase of approximately 16 percent from last fiscal year. The Department of Homeland Security allocates funding based on risk and will review factors, such as how funding would be used to build or improve on core capabilities, to determine applicant funding. 

Last year, New York was awarded a total of $287 million for four major programs: the Urban Areas Security Initiative (UASI), State Homeland Security Program (SHSP), Transit Security Grant Program, and Port Security Grant Program.