June 3, 2009 By Corey McKenna
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) released guidance on more than $500 million in port and transit security grants as well as fire station construction grants available from the Federal Emergency Management Agency under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA).
The guidance released last week includes:
This money is in addition to transit and port security grants announced in April and firefighter assistance grants announced in 2008.
In addition to the $388.6 million in DHS transit security grants released in April, $150 million in ARRA funds are available for the Transit Security Grant Program. According to the DHS Web site, the funds are available for the hiring of transit law enforcement officers, mobile explosive detection screening teams and specially trained anti-terrorism teams among other uses. The money can also be used for "shovel-ready" anti-terrorism security enhancements, which must begin within 90 days of the release of funds and be completed within two years. Other allowed uses include improvements to high-density tunnels, stations and bridges.
The Port Security Grant Program provides $150 million for projects that protect critical infrastructure, enhance maritime domain awareness and risk management capabilities to protect against improvised explosive devices and unconventional weapons. The funding also will support the implementation of the Transportation Worker Identification Credential -- a program that requires all personnel with unescorted access to secure port areas to obtain federally issued identification.
For the purpose of the ARRA port security awards, ports nationwide have been sorted into three groups in line with the fiscal 2009 DHS risk analysis model. The seven ports designated in the group with the highest risk will receive $81.4 million. Forty-seven ports in the second tier will receive $54 million, and 36 ports in the third group will receive $6.66 million. Ports not covered in those three groups can compete for $5.92 million, and ferry systems not applying in any other group can apply for a share of $2 million.
Applications for the port and transit security grant programs must be submitted electronically to FEMA through www.grants.gov by June 15, 2009.
ARRA provides $210 million for the Fire Station Construction Grant Program to be made directly to fire departments to enhance response capabilities and protect communities by building new fire stations or modifying existing ones. The grants are intended to replace unsafe or uninhabitable structures and expand fire protection coverage to meet increased service demand in compliance with National Fire Protection Association standards. These grants are in addition to the $565 million in Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program announced earlier this year.
Applications for the Fire Station Construction Grant Program should be submitted electronically at https://portal.fema.gov.
All over the country, community leaders are looking to boost economic development through various initiatives. One key element in many of those initiatives is the use of information technology. When local governments build IT infrastructure, create e-government applications, assist high-tech startups or otherwise focus on technology, they create conditions that draw businesses to their communities and help retain skilled workers. This paper discusses and provides examples of these various ways local government can use technology to ultimately make a community more attractive to businesses, visitors and residents.