Peabody award–winning journalist Andrea Bernstein is Senior Editor for Politics & Policy for WNYC News. She has previously served as Metro Editor, Political Director, Director of Transportation Nation, and Senior Reporter.
Transportation Security Cuts: The Facts
Thursday, May 13, 2010 - 08:31 PM
(New York, NY - Andrea Bernstein, Transportation Nation) In a press release issued yesterday evening, Senator Charles Schumer lambasted the Administration for what he sees as cuts to New York's terrorism-fighting apparatus. "For the administration to announce these cuts two weeks after the attempted Times Square bombing shows they just don't get it and are not doing right by New York City on anti-terrorism funding. We urge them to reconsider this decision. Instead of distributing funding all over the country, they should focus their attention where the greatest threat exists right here in New York."
According to Schumer, transit security lost 27 percent of its funding, down $42 million to $111 million, and port security lost $11 million, down to $34 millon. A separate allocation of homeland security money for urban areas, $832 million, has yet to be divided up.
The overall thrust of the remarks, that New York is a number one terror threat but isn't treated that way when it comes to funding allocations, is a long-time beef that New York officials have had with the federal government.
But the White House argues that Schumer (who has been joined in his critcism by Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Reps Peter King (R-NY) and Anthony Wiener (D-NY), is flat-out wrong. White House spokesman Nicholas Shapiro emails WNYC's Bob Hennelly:
"The reports are wrong. When all federal funding is totaled, NYC has received a net increase of $47 million for port and transit security over the previous year's budget, the last signed into law by the Bush Administration. Those who suggest otherwise are not counting the more than $100 million in port and transit security grants for NYC from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. With that money, the total for NYC will be $245 million, more than $47million than what was allotted by the Bush Administration in the previous year. In fact, one out of every three recovery dollars for transit and port security went to NYC, making them the largest recipient in the country."
Overall port and transit security grant funding increased 14% from the Bush to Obama administrations.
Port and transit security grant funding in New York City increased by 24% from the Bush to Obama administrations.
FY 2009 total port/ transit funding: $737,200,000
FY 2010 + ARRA total port/ transit funding: $841,437,597
= 14% increase
FY 2009 NYC port/ transit funding: $198,000,000
FY 2010 +ARRA NYC port/ transit funding: $245,000,000
= 24% increase.
But here's the flaw in the White House Argument. While there is no specific Reference in the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (search it) section on Port and Transportation security to whether those funds can supplant other federal funding, the words "supplement not supplant other Federal, State, or Local funding," lace the entire act. We're still waiting for the White House to let us know why that doesn't apply here. More soon.