Washington has awarded Connecticut about $82 million from its main homeland security grant program since the 2001 terrorist attacks, but the state has taken only $11.4 million so far, says the Hartford Courant. None of the money earmarked for the state in fiscal 2004, which began Oct. 1, 2003, or for fiscal 2005 has been touched. Most of it is supposed to go to towns and cities to help “first responders” prepare for emergencies.
Gov. M. Jodi Rell’s aides say a major reason for the spending lag has been a desire to wait until the state Department of Emergency Management and Homeland Security was set up on Jan. 1. The Coursant says the explanation has not calmed nervous officials, who see a program designed to funnel money to states quickly to cope with unexpected disasters stymied by bureaucratic fumbling. Many towns need better communications equipment, for instance, and officials worry they will have trouble getting in touch with one another in a serious disaster. “What’s happened in Connecticut is symptomatic of a national problem,” said Rep. Christopher Cox, (R-Ca.), chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee. Analysts point to the risk that money will be spent ineffectively. “Homeland security funding is likely to be misallocated, resulting in a less than optimal level of security in America,” said Veronique de Rugy of the American Enterprise Institute.