Narrowing its list of eligible recipients, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has cut $170 million in federal anti-terrorism funding for more than 30 mid-sized cities across the country including Louisville.
The Urban Areas Security Initiative grants were created in response to the attacks of Sept. 11 and initially went to New York City, Washington, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Seattle and Houston. In 2008, the risk-based grants were extended to 60 other cities to help enhance regional preparedness but the major metropolitan areas have taken precedence in the face of budget cuts.
Last year, Metro Government received $2.2 million from the federal agency to help upgrade MetroSafe systems used by police, firefighters, and other first responders. At the time, former Mayor Jerry Abramson said the improvements were vital to ensuring public safety.
Funds were used to complete radio towers, provide maintenance to facilities and increase coordination between the city’s emergency personnel and those in surrounding counties.
A spokesperson with homeland security said cities no longer on the list will continue to receive grant money funneled down from state governments. Critics have called the cuts “reckless” and federal lawmakers have promised to restore the funding,