In his final budget request on Monday, President Bush is expected to ask Congess for $2.2 billion to help states and cities protect against terrorist attacks, the Associated Press reports. The Homeland Security Department has expanded from 45 to 60 the list of cities or regions deemed higly vulnerable to a terrorist attack and thus eligible for a $782-million competitive counterterrorism grant program.
The seven highest-risk areas – including Los Angeles, New York, and Washington – will be competing for $430 million this year. The remaining 53 will compete for about $352 million. The department says the city/region lists are not the result of specific threats or concerns but that reflect an overall analysis of threat data. Regions added to the list this year include Rochester, N.Y.; Syracuse, N.Y.; Austin and Round Rock, Tx.; Baton Rouge; Bridgeport, Stamford and Norwalk, Ct.; the Hartford, Ct., region; Louisville and Jefferson County in Kentucky and an area across the Ohio River in Indiana; Nashville, Davidson County and Murfreesboro, Tn.; Richmond, Va.; Riverside, San Bernardino and Ontario, Calif.; Salt Lake City; San Juan, Caguas and Guaynabo, P.R.; and Toledo.