D.C. Terrorism Money Not Spent
The D.C. area has spent only $25 million of the $145 million allocated to it for homeland security since 2002, ranking behind all 50 states in spending rate. And $11.9 million of that was for inauguaral security.
Most Area Terrorism Funding Not Spent (WaPo, A1)
The Washington area has not spent the majority of $145 million in anti-terrorism grants awarded by the federal government over the past three years, including funds earmarked for such critical items as hospital beds and protective gear for rescue workers. Long after the 2001 attacks on New York and Washington, homeland security spending across the country remains bogged down by administrative problems, back orders for equipment and long timelines to implement new technology, such as communications systems.
Although the Washington area is designated as high-risk, it has not spent $120 million of the federal aid it received between 2002 and 2004, according to the Department of Homeland Security. Local authorities said that spending fell behind in 2003 and that more time was needed to coordinate plans with Maryland, Virginia and 16 suburban jurisdictions.
The area, which has a spending rate of 17 percent, ranks last compared with the 50 states, according to data released to Congress and obtained by The Washington Post and CBS’s “60 Minutes,” which is scheduled to air a report tonight on waste in homeland security grants. The national spending average is 44 percent. Local authorities said the ranking is misleading because it does not reflect that they have committed 80 percent of their funds, or $115 million, to projects underway for the District and its suburbs in Maryland and Northern Virginia. The inclusion of obligated funds, they said, is a fairer measure than counting dollars spent only after the work is completed. Still, Washington will miss a June 30 deadline for spending $46 million that has been available for two years, the D.C. government said. Officials have asked for a half-year extension from the Department of Homeland Security to avoid losing the money.
Remember when the D.C. government was whining about having to spend part of their homeland security funds for inaugural security?
Still, the fact that the D.C. metro area is a conglomeration of the inept D.C. government plus several counties in Maryland and Virginia does indeed make comparison with the states unfair. For one thing, this essentially has counties in Maryland and Virginia competing against their own state legislatures. More importantly, though, having to negotiate these issues across state and district boundaries is far more complicated than simply passing legislation at the state level.