Bay Area gets increased funds for homeland security

The Bay Area will receive significant increases in federal funds for port security and regional transportation this year, according to an announcement made Friday by the Department of Homeland Security.

Federal funding for transit infrastructure protection in the Bay Area will increase from $13.8 million to $28.2 million for the upcoming fiscal year, and port security funds will go up from $14 million to $25.5 million.

According to Port of San Francisco spokeswoman Renée Dunn, the majority of last year’s $14 million in port security funding went to the Port of Oakland, which runs more of a risk because it is a containment port.

“Whenever grant money comes our way we have to fight as hard as we can to get our fair share,” Dunn said.

Along with the funding announcements Friday,the federal government began the application process for the most competitive federal grant, the Urban Area Security Initiative, of which $781.6 million is budgeted for U.S. cities at risk of terrorist attacks.

The federal government deemed the Bay Area as one of seven Tier I regions in the country facing the highest risk of a terrorist attack. Because of its Tier I status, the Bay Area will share 55 percent of the UASI money with the six other top-risk cities, according to the Department of Homeland Security.

The actual amount the Bay Area will receive from the grant will be released sometime this summer, said Laura Adelman, spokeswoman for the San Francisco Office of Emergency Services.

The 10-county Bay Area is also guaranteed to get at least $6 million from a new government revenue program, the Regional Catastrophic Preparedness Grant, and is eligible to compete with other Tier I cities for $11 million more from the fledging funding source, Adelman said.

wreisman@examiner.com

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