SIA: President’s New Spending Plan ‘Shortsighted and Irresponsible’
The Security Industry Association (SIA) strongly criticized President Bush’s fiscal year 2009 budget, calling the proposed reductions in security grants programs, “shortsighted and irresponsible.”
The budget significantly reduces funding levels for port security, public transit and school security grant programs, says Richard Chace, SIA’s executive director and CEO.
“The president’s proposed budget jeopardizes our national and economic security,” Chace says. “This shortsighted and irresponsible plan does not provide nearly enough funding to secure our nation’s critical infrastructure. The safety of our ports, schools and public transit systems are top priorities for [SIA] and we will continue working with members of the House and Senate to get these grant programs funded at necessary levels.”
SIA released a statement detailing security grants programs impacted by the 2009 spending plan:
Port Security Grant Program – provides funds for port facilities to strengthen security and comply with new federal mandates. In the 2005 Safe Port Act, Congress authorized $400 million in annual funding for five years. The 2008 program was fully funded, however Bush’s ’09 budget request is for $210 million.
Transit Security Grant Program – provides funds for public transportation agencies to make security improvements, including the acquisition of perimeter protection, access control, fencing, surveillance equipment and fire suppression equipment. Funded at $388.6 million in 2008, the president’s new budget request is for $175 million.
Secure Our Schools Program – provides up to 50 percent of the total cost for communities to install metal detectors, locks, lighting and other equipment to help deter and prevent crime and disorder. The grants can also be used to pay half of the cost of security assessments, security training and other measures that provide a significant improvement in security. Funded in 2008 at $15 million, the president did not request any funds for the program in 2009.
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