Homeland Security money is, and maybe isn't, coming to midtown

Per the AP, Mike Bloomberg and Ray Kelly are expected to announce today that the feds are providing $24 million to install the "ring of steel" surveillance cameras in midtown Commissioner Kelly announced plans for in April. Kelly initially requested $21 million, but said the cost could rise to $28 million. The new cameras will be installed between 30th and 60th Streets in Manhattan.

What we may not get: $40 million to fund the completion of an anti-nuke detection system which Bloomberg, Kelly and Joe Lieberman lobbied for at a press conference last weekend (which, if they'd waited, would have been filmed by the new cameras).

Homeland Security has recommended to Congress that they cease to fund the Securing Our Cities system, which detects radioactive materals. The feds have given us $73 million so far to set up existing sensors on highways, toll plazas, bridges, tunnels and waterways in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. They're asking us to shoulder the remaining costs or wait for possibly more-effective next-generation technology.

Our House delegation got the program into the current Homeland Security bill, but the Senate voted the funds out. The Senate version of the bill only provides $10 million in nuclear detection funds for the entire country.

Apparently, no-one in the Senate was particularly compelled by the support of Senator Lieberman, whose Chairmanship of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee is ostensibly one of the reasons Mr. Bloomberg finds him such a valuable friend to New York. Rep. Peter King, whose former Chairmanship of Homeland Security in the House Mr. Bloomberg found equally valuable, if similarly unrenumerative, also supports the funding.

Rep. Nita Lowey of Westchester and Rep. Jose Serrano of the Bronx are hoping to get the money restored from their seats on the conference committee, but neither sounds particularly confident. 42 tri-state legislators have contacted the conference chiefs to lobby for the money.

Serrano says that he's worried America has forgotten that we were attacked on 9/11. On the other hand, a prominent fan in the White House says our local anti-terror efforts have the respect and gratitude of all americans, and he's said to be a very convincing fellow.




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