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DHS’ $790 Million Infrastructure Protection Grants: Where the Money is Going

Janet Napolitano
Janet Napolitano

Last week, DHS announced $790 million in critical infrastructure preparedness grants.  While some of the programs announced by Secretary Napolitano are relatively small in scope (i.e. the Intercity Bus Security Grant Program (IBSGP), an $11.5 million program “to support security plans, facility security upgrades and vehicle and driver protection”), the two largest grants, the Transit Security Grant Program (TSGP) and the Port Security Grant Program (PSGP) are much larger.  Here’s some in-depth analysis on where the money will go for these two grant programs

Transit Security Grant Program (TSGP): $253 Million

The money is going to state and local agencies to shore up preparedness in “the highest-risk systems in our country’s largest metropolitan areas.”  To assign the grants, DHS divided American cities into two categories: Tier I (New York City, DC, Philadelphia, Boston, Chicago, Atlanta, Los Angeles, and San Fransisco) and Tier II (everyone else). Tier I gets $225.7 million in grants, Tier II gets $27.3 million.

One interesting thing about the two tiers, per DHS guidelines, “Tier I awards are subject to a non-competitive review process, whereas TSGP Tier II awards are determined by a fully competitive review process,” so incumbency is going to be key for winning the state and local contracts associated with TSGP funds.

The single largest chunk of DHS money ($110.5 million) is going to the New York City Metropolitan Area, mostly to the Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA), the New Jersey Transit Corp (NJT) and the Connecticut Department of Transportation (CDOT).  Also, despite the fact that the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey will also receive grants under the Port Security Grant Program, they’re getting TSGP money as well because ferries are eligible for the program’s security grants.

After New York, the next biggest piece of funding is headed to the DC Metro area, $29.5 million.  And it looks like the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, better known as Metro, will be getting some sorely needed funds to improve security at commuter rail stations.

Following on the money list is Boston with $21 million in grants, San Fransisco with $19 million and Chicago with $16.9 million.

Port Security Grant Program (PSGP): $288 Million

According to DHS, PSGP funds are “primarily intended to assist ports in enhancing maritime domain awareness, enhancing risk management capabilities to prevent, detect, respond to and recover from attacks involving improvised explosive devices (IEDs), Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, Explosive (CBRNE), and other non-conventional weapons, as well as training and exercises and Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC) implementation.”

Also, two major changes over last year’s PSGP: funding for standard operations vehicles utilized for routine duties (such as fire trucks or police cars) and costs of conducting vulnerability assessments are no longer covered by the grants, so it’s new initiatives only this year.  Also, there is no ferry appropriation, presumably because ferries are eligible for TSGP money.

Details are sketchy on which ports are getting what money, but the priorities are very clear: detecting and responding to CBRNE threats in American ports and making sure port workers aren’t behaving like IBS Local 47.

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