For Immediate Release
December 09, 2009
For More Information Contact:
Mayor's push successful; City to receive 30 percent more in Homeland Security funding
Mayor Thomas M. Menino today announced that the United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has added Boston to the list of Tier 1 Urban Area Security Initiatives (UASI) and will now receive 30 percent more in homeland security funding. UASI program funds address the critical planning, equipment, training and exercise needs of major urban areas, and assists them in building an enhanced and sustainable capacity to prevent, protect against, respond to, and recover from acts of terrorism or other major emergencies.
"We've been advocating for Tier 1 status for a long time, and I'd like to thank Secretary Napolitano for recognizing Boston as a world-class city that belongs in the same category as other large urban areas," said Mayor Menino. "Everyone in Boston will be safer because the City will receive more federal dollars."
Boston will receive more than $22 million in DHS funding, with $18.9 million coming from UASI funds and $3.5 million from the Regional Catastrophic Preparedness Grant Program (RCPGP). The RCPGP supports coordination of regional all-hazard planning for catastrophic events, including the development of integrated planning communities, plans, protocols, and procedures to manage a catastrophic event. The increase in funding will enhance communications interoperability, information sharing, evacuation, mass care and medical surge initiatives, and overall emergency response capabilities.
"Urban Area Security Initiative grants play a major role in our efforts to work with Mayor Menino and Boston residents to build a culture of readiness and resilience," said Secretary Napolitano. "This year's guidance focuses on maximizing efficiency and value while prioritizing risk in awarding grants to strengthen our security." Boston, along with Philadelphia and Dallas, joins other large Tier 1 Urban Areas that total ten areas and include Washington, DC, New York City, and Los Angeles. For DHS purposes, the Metro-Boston area includes eight surrounding cities and towns: Cambridge, Somerville, Everett, Chelsea, Winthrop, Revere, Quincy and Brookline.
"While we've made the most of the resources available to us in the past, the City now has the opportunity to take additional measures to keep Boston a safe and secure place to work, live and visit," said Don McGough, Director of the Mayor's Office of Emergency Preparedness. "We look forward to improving integration of public safety agencies and strengthening relationships across neighboring communities."
Mayor Menino has advocated for Tier 1 status through efforts that have included pushing for accurate Census counts. Last week, the Mayor announced that Boston won its Census challenge for the fourth straight year; the official population has grown to more than 620,000, and the City believes that number still falls short by about 10,000 people. Areas with high population counts and density typically receive more federal funding.
For several years, the Massachusetts Congressional delegation has supported this change in status from Tier 2 to Tier 1. In 2007, every member of the delegation signed a letter to then-DHS Secretary Michael Chertoff asking for a full explanation of Boston's Tier 2 classification. The letter called Boston the "key to economic vitality of Massachusetts and the entire New England region" and described the classification as "inconsistent with the sizeable population in the greater Boston region, extensive transportation infrastructure and additional critical assets that require enhanced funding."
DHS has allocated $832.5 million for the 2010 fiscal year to 64 high-threat, high-density urban areas to strengthen preparedness capabilities. The 9/11 Act requires the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and all states, to use 25 percent of UASI funds for law enforcement terrorism prevention-oriented activities. Metro-Boston is the only urban area in Massachusetts considered a Tier 1 or Tier 2 area.