Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Funding Follies

I've repeatedly noted that funding for homeland security should match the need and the threat, but when members of Congress start complaining their districts aren't getting the money they need and a report comes out that states that New York, New Jersey and Connecticut have nearly $1.5 billion in unspent homeland security monies, you have to start scratching your head.

We'd been told that the MTA was behind schedule in upgrading its security systems, including camera installation.

Are the members of Congress, including Sen. Schumer, Sen. Clinton, Rep. Weiner, and state and local officials including Gov. Spitzer, Mayor Bloomberg, and Gov. Corzine worried more about the appearance of taking action rather than ensuring that the action is actually taken? Why is the money going unspent? It's the question that doesn't have any good answers, and it would seem that few are willing to even bother asking them.

In California, $1.2 billion was appropriated, but 24% remains unspent. By my calculation, that's $288 million.

Nationwide, the figures are just as staggering - of $16 billion allocated for homeland security funding since 9/11, nearly $5 billion is unspent (almost 1/3 of the total).

Something has got to give, and it would be criminal if terrorists manage to conduct a terrorist attack exploiting a vulnerability that was supposed to be handled by homeland security funding that went unspent.

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