Saturday, January 20, 2007

Spitzer and Corzine Appeal for Antiterrorism Aid

Govs. Jon S. Corzine of New Jersey, left, and Eliot Spitzer of New York during a news conference today at the train terminal in Hoboken, N.J.
(photo courtesy Mike Derer/Associated Press)

New York Times DAVID KOCIENIEWSKI
How in God's Name can you every cut security funding to the New York Metro Area after 9/11??? Leave it to Bush and his incompetent cronies to figure out a way.......what a total disgrace that bunch is.........andy
HOBOKEN, N.J., Jan 19 — Warning that it would be a “grave mistake” to further reduce antiterrorism financing to the nation’s busiest urban center, Govs. Eliot Spitzer of New York and Jon S. Corzine of New Jersey pressed the Bush administration today for a substantial increase in federal money to improve security for the region’s highways and mass transit lines.
Appearing at a news conference in the Hoboken PATH terminal through which tens of thousands of commuters pass each work day, Mr. Spitzer and Mr. Corzine released a letter to the secretary of homeland security, Michael Chertoff, saying that their efforts to deter another terror attack had been set back by substantial cuts in financing for counterterrorism announced in June. Since then, the federal government has changed the guidelines used to determine aid, combining parts of New York and New Jersey, and officials in both states have said they worry that new classification system could foreshadow additional cuts.
Mr. Chertoff said earlier this month that the new classification system would not necessarily mean that the regions receives less money because it will be distributed based on risk.
“To say, for example, the risk for New York is at this level and the risk if you cross the Hudson River is at a much lower level doesn’t make a lot of sense,” Mr. Chertoff said.
But Mr. Spitzer and Mr. Corzine said they wanted to speak out now, while the financing levels are being determined in Washington.
“There could be a temptation through combining the risk analysis, to reduce the overall level of funding awards,” the letter says. “That would be a grave mistake and would only serve to undermine the public’s conference.”
New York City saw it’s federal antiterrorism aid drop to $127 million from $204 million in the 2006 fiscal year. New Jersey fared slightly better: aid to its six densely populated northern counties — which are home to the stretch the
F.B.I. calls “the most dangerous two miles in America — climbed to $34.3 million, up from $19.4 million. For the rest of the state, there was a sharp cut in grants, to $17.7 million, down from $36.3 million last year.
The news conference was the first joint public appearance between the two governors since Mr. Spitzer took office. Although Mr. Corzine has had several border disputes with Gov.
Edward G. Rendell of Pennsylvania, and previous New York and New Jersey governors have periodically jousted over Port Authority spending and sports franchises, Mr. Spitzer and Mr. Corzine say they have a cordial working relationship.
Neither Mr. Corzine nor Mr. Spitzer would cite a specific dollar amount they sought from Washington, but said that five years after the 9/11 attacks, the region’s infrastructure still remained vulnerable.
“I feel kind of like a college student calling home and saying, ‘Just send money,’ ” Mr. Spitzer said.

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