Boston 10th in Funds Received for 'High Threat' Urban Areas
Terrorism has been in the headlines in Boston before. Ten al-Qaida hijackers departed from Boston's Logan airport on Sept. 11, 2001. And in 2012, Tarek Mehanna of Sudbury, Mass., a Boston suburb, was convicted of conspiracy to provide material support to al-Qaida.
But when the Department of Homeland Security originally assessed the threat of terror to 65 American metropolitan areas in 2003, Boston barely made the top 10. As a result, the city did not initially receive a security seed grant for $100,000,000, designed to help metropolitan areas acquire personnel, equipment and training to prevent and recover from acts of terrorism. Then Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and the state legislature lobbied DHS to include the city in the program. On April 11, 2003, the Boston Herald reported:
All 12 Massachusetts lawmakers sent a letter yesterday to Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge requesting information about why Boston was not one of the cities that received $100 million as part of the Urban Area Security Initiative.
In 2009, Boston was re-classified as one of ten "tier 1" cities, making it eligible for more funds than metropolitan areas that face a lesser risk of terror. From 2003 to 2012, Boston received a total of $173,318,428 from the Urban Area Security Initiative program, or UASI, according to data compiled by Oklahoma Sen. Tom Coburn.
According to 2010 U.S. Census data, Boston's metro area comes in 10th, with a population of 4,552,402. By comparison, the No. 1 region New York has a population of 18,897,109.
The UASI is currently the largest DHS grant program. Congress authorized $500.4 million for UASI allocations in the 2013 fiscal year.
In 2011, the DHS cut 31 cities from the UASI program in an effort to control costs.