Honolulu gets share of $740M anti-terrorism grant
Honolulu is among 46 cities selected to receive counterterrorism money this year from the Department of Homeland Security. Major urban areas will find out today their share of a $740 million anti-terrorism grant.
Three cities — Memphis, Tenn., and Orlando and Fort Lauderdale, Fla. — qualified for the list of eligible cities this year after being passed over in 2005.
Eleven others may be booted in 2007 based on a new Homeland Security formula that the department says is based on intelligence and law enforcement data about terrorist threats and the possible consequences in each city.
Honolulu was passed over for funding in 2004, but received $6 million in 2003 and $6.4 million in 2005.
John Cummings, spokesman for O'ahu Civil Defense, said Honolulu has been receiving federal funding fairly consistently since 1997, when the city was included in a list of 111 that could be potential targets for terrorists.
"We've been recognized for a while now as a city that could be of interest," Cummings said.
The money is part of a $1.7 billion Homeland Security grant program to prevent and respond to terrorist attacks and, to a lesser extent, other catastrophic disasters such as hurricanes.
Previous Homeland Security grants have helped Honolulu shore up the emergency response system used for emergencies beyond attacks, said Ben Dimond, O'ahu's homeland security grants coordinator.
"The kinds of equipment we are purchasing would also assist our first responders in the case of a natural disaster," he said.
For instance, the funding has been used to improve the emergency radio system to include the Fire Department and can be expanded to include emergency medical services, he said.Advertiser staff writer Treena Shapiro contributed to this report.