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San Diego to Get $16M in Homeland Security Grants

The San Diego region will receive $16 million in federal grants during the next year as part of the Department of Homeland Security’s grant program, the federal government announced July 18.

The amount is a 102 percent increase over last year’s total of $7.9 million. Eighteen months ago, San Diego was one of 11 regions in danger of being eliminated from the list of urban areas eligible for the grant program.

The grant for the San Diego region for fiscal 2006 was about half the previous year’s amount. The federal agency’s funding method did not take into account the city’s proximity to the U.S.-Mexico border and military presence.

In response, Mayor Jerry Sanders led an effort to increase the region’s funding amount and make sure the agency accounted for all of San Diego’s risk factors. Government officials restored San Diego’s eligibility in January.

The new grant money will be distributed among nine areas of investment to enhance the region’s response capabilities in case of a terrorist attack or catastrophic event.

A local group, called the Urban Area Working Group, will decide the allocations.

One representative from each of the county’s 19 jurisdictions will participate in the working group.

The Urban Areas Security Initiative program is a part of the Homeland Security Grant Program, which is comprised of five separate grant programs. The department awarded a total of $1.7 billion as a part of the grant program, with $746.9 million going to the urban initiative.

The urban initiative has two tiers of funding. Tier 1 funding addresses the six urban areas with the highest security risk, while Tier 2 funding addresses the remainder of cities on the list.

The Tier 1 urban areas , the San Francisco Bay Area, Chicago, Houston, New York City and northern New Jersey, Los Angeles, Long Beach and the national capital region , received $411 million, or 55 percent of UASI funds.

San Diego competed with 38 other cities eligible for $336 million in Tier 2 funding.

, Sam Blanchard

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