Mikulski Announces Homeland Security Spending Bill Includes Key Funding to Keep Marylanders Safe

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Senator Barbara A. Mikulski (D-Md.), a member of the Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee, announced June 30, the Fiscal Year 2010 Homeland Security spending bill includes key funding to keep Marylanders safe. It also puts finds in the federal checkbook for grants to firefighters, first responders and port and transit security.  

“This legislation gets us one step closer to keeping our nation safer, standing up for our first responders and making sure that if terror strikes, measures are in place to protect and save lives,” said Senator Mikulski. “I will keep fighting to make sure there are resources in the federal checkbook for our safety here at home.”  

The spending bill includes $800 million in federal funding for our nation’s firefighters through the Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program (AFGP). AFGP grants fund firefighting equipment, personal protection equipment, training, firefighting vehicles, firefighter/first responder safety projects, and staffing recruitment and retention. This includes $380 million for Assistance to Firefighters Grants (AFG) and $420 million for Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grants.  

“These are tight times, but we must do better for our first responders. The federal government has a responsibility to protect our protectors, providing them with the best equipment, training and resources they need to do their job safer and smarter,” said Senator Mikulski. “If you are willing to put your life on the line every day, you should never feel short-changed by your government. I am so proud to announce this federal investment in the safety of our first responders.” 

The bill also includes $356 million in funding for Public Security Transportation Assistance and Railroad Security Assistance. This grant program provides funding for transit, bus, ferry and rail systems for training planning, operations and equipment. These funds are in addition to the $150 million provided in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA, Public-Law 111-05).

“We are a high-risk, high-threat nation, with transit systems uniquely challenged to protect and perform. At a time when gas prices are high, when we are encouraging the use of rail and transit alternatives like MARC and Metrorail, we need to make sure we are keeping commuters safe,” said Senator Mikulski. “I will keep fighting to make sure our critical transit systems have the resources they need in the federal checkbook to effectively deal with any potential threats.” 

The bill also includes $350 million in funding for the Port Security Grant Program. This is in addition to the $150 million provided in ARRA. These funds are awarded to port communities across the country to finance security enhancements to protect against terrorism such as detection, surveillance and communications equipment, patrol boats, command facilities and training activities.  

“Ports are high-threat targets for terrorism. We need to make sure the Port of Baltimore and all ports across America are safe, secure and growing,” said Senator Mikulski. “I have been fighting to upgrade the Port of Baltimore

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