BUFFALO, NY – Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-27) and City of Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown are condemning today’s announcement that the City of Buffalo is due to receive only $3.7 million in Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI) Funding from the Department of Homeland Security – about half of the $7.2 million the City received last year. In addition, the local leaders fear funding to Buffalo may be completely eliminated next year.
“The President can’t have it both ways on the issue of national security in Buffalo and Western New York,” said Congressman Higgins. “On one hand he is pushing to impose tighter restrictions including passport requirements at the Canadian border, yet at the same time this Administration plans to abandon Buffalo and eradicate millions in funds which could provide the resources to protect our region. It is completely incomprehensible and irresponsible.”
“This is further evidence of the President’s lack of understanding of urban areas and the utter lack of a federal urban policy,” said Mayor Brown. “The impact on Buffalo, an important border city which regularly hosts large scale special events, is significant. This is a hit not only for the City of Buffalo, but for all of Western New York.”
UASI provides funding for the unique equipment, training, planning, and exercise needs of select high threat urban areas. According to the Department of Homeland Security the fiscal year 2006 UASI list of eligible applicants and recipients was determined through a robust risk formula that considers three primary variables: consequence, vulnerability, and threat.
Congressman Higgins noted factors such as the proximity of the Niagara Power Plant, the activities of the Lackawanna Six and the US/Canadian border crossing as validating factors that the Buffalo/Niagara region is at risk.
Buffalo is one of the eleven on the list of 46 cities currently receiving UASI funds designated as a “Sustainment Urban Area” which dooms the likelihood for continued funding through the program.
“If Philadelphia, Memphis, Milwaukee, Honolulu and Cleveland are on the list of funding recipients, Buffalo too should be recognized as a target and not targeted to be left behind,” said Congressman Higgins. “This is another fight for what is right and fair for Western New York.”
Congressman Higgins pointed to this as another glaring example of the inefficiencies of a Homeland Security distribution system that allocates nearly twice as much per capita to the state of Wyoming than it does to the state of New York.