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Lautenberg: Security grants on the way to protect N.J.

(The following story by Bill Cahir appeared at NJ.com on May 11.)

WASHINGTON The U.S. Homeland Security Department released $445 million in grants on Thursday for the protection of seaports, mass transit lines and high-risk industrial plants from terror attacks.

U.S. Sen. Frank Lautenberg claimed that more than $100 million was targeted to the New York, New Jersey and Connecticut region.

"While much more needs to be done to protect our residents from a terrorist attack, these grants will provide better surveillance and enhanced security at our ports, chemical facilities and public transportation systems," Lautenberg, D-N.J., said in a statement.

The Bush administration released $202 million for port security; $141 million for mass transit safety; $48.5 million for states to protect critical infrastructure, including chemical facilities, power plants, dams and stadiums; $14.2 million for Amtrak and ferry security; $11.6 million for intercity and charter bus companies; and $11.6 million for a highway safety initiative.

Michael P. Jackson, deputy secretary of the Homeland Security Department, characterized the grants as "risk-based."

"These grants will help to protect our nation's critical infrastructure from threats and hazards that could cause major loss of life, economic impact, and disruption of services," Jackson said.

Lautenberg said the Port of New York and New Jersey would receive about $27 million.

Authorities in southern New Jersey and working on Delaware River ports will get $11 million, Lautenberg said. For instance, the New Jersey Office of Homeland Security Preparedness will get $3 million, the Camden Fire Department will get $1.2 million, the Camden Police will get $300,000, and PSEG will receive $240,000.

Friday, May 11, 2007

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