Answering big-city mayors, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security is shifting a larger share of its annual $3.5 billion in antiterrorism grants to large cities, allowing them to accelerate purchases of equipment and training needed to better defend against an attack, reports the New York Times. The biggest beneficiary of the shift is New York City, which will get $208 million for the 2005 fiscal year, compared with $47 million in the 2004 fiscal year, which ended on Sept. 30. That should allow the city to buy more devices that can detect chemical, biological, or other hazards, increase training for police and firefighters and spend more money on an intelligence center to analyze terrorist threats.
Los Angeles, Washington, Chicago, and Boston also are getting larger grants, although the increase is not nearly so substantial as in New York. The change has prompted protests from cities that have dropped off the list or whose allocations have shrunk, including Orlando, Fla.; Memphis; and New Haven. “We are at the crossroads of America, for cars, for trains, for river traffic,” said Claude Talford, director of emergency management services in the Memphis area, which received $10 million for 2004 but is not slated to get any direct grant in 2005. “We are a prime location, a prime target, any way you look at it.”