The Danbury News-Times reports that the Port of New Haven is extremely vulnerable due to an apparent lack of interest from Washington:
New Haven, which the Department of Homeland Security rated as a "high-risk city" in 2003, received none of the $49 million in Homeland Security grants targeted for port security last year.
...New Haven is arguably one of the most at-risk ports in New England. Home to a large commercial cargo facility as well as the second-largest oil terminal in the Northeast, experts say it could be a terrorist target. (Reid)
That's odd. Are there comperable decreases in other, similar port cities?
The city of Bridgeport received $600,000 in federal grant money for port security, while the Bridgeport Port Authority, a separate entity, got $3 million.
New London received $150,000 from the federal grant. The city has yet to spend its grant money, said a spokeswoman for Police Chief Bruce Rhinehart. (Reid)
It's worth noting that the Coast Guard and the naval base provide some extra security for New London. So what's going on here?
Bridgeport and New London have something else in common. Both have Republican representation in Congress. U.S. Rep. Christopher P. Shays, R-4th Dist., respresents Bridgeport while Rep Bob Simmons, R-2nd Dist., represents New London.
New Haven has a Democratic representative, Rosa DeLauro, D-3rd Dist. "If homeland security is our country's top priority — as the Bush administration continues to tell us— then why is New Haven no longer a high-risk city and why is it losing $10 million in funding?" DeLauro said.
She said changes in grant eligibility were "made without prior warning and there are many questions that need to be answered."
DeLauro stopped short of accusing the Bush administration of playing politics. However, according to the list of grant recipients from the Department of Homeland Security, nearly 70 percent of port funding went to states with Republican governors or to districts with Republican members of Congress. (Reid)
Outrageous, although those statistics may very well be misleading (California and New York, for example, probably get a lot of port funding--both have Republican governors, as do we). Where are our senators on this? Lieberman supposedly lives in New Haven, shouldn't he be concerned with or at least aware of security problems at the port? There is no reason why New Haven shouldn't have the same level of security as Bridgeport.
Source: Reid, Chipp. "Politics may aid security funding". The News-Times 4 April 2005.