Costs of the nation’s fifth orange-level antiterrorism alert are mounting, the Associated Press reports. Some local officials worry they will be shortchanged by federal officials promising reimbursement. Others say the alert doesn’t mean higher spending, rather smarter deployment. New Hampshire, Colorado, and smaller or rural cities reported no additional costs.
Urban states, border states, and those with facilities that federal authorities identify protection, are seeing significant new expenses. The AP reports that Los Angeles has spent $9.3 million so far; New Jersey $2.7 million; the last alert cost New York City between $5 million and $7 million each week. On New Year’s Eve in New York City, there were military helicopters overhead, mailboxes and trash cans removed, and a combination of heavily armed guards and plainclothes officers in the crowd. Counter-terror teams with equipment to detect chemical, biological or radiological contamination roamed the streets.
The overtime bill for New Orleans police the week of the Sugar Bowl may reach $300,000. Protection for Las Vegas celebrations rang up more than $400,000 in bills. “We’ve always heard freedom isn’t free. No kidding,” said Jerry Bussell, Nevada’s homeland security adviser.