Weekly Feature

2007-01-31 / Local News

Congressional plan will help fund security program

Rep. Thomas M. Reynolds, R-Amherst, met last week with officials from Erie and Niagara counties and the Department of Homeland Security to discuss the Urban Area Security Initiative program.

Reynolds' latest effort to help restore Homeland Security funding for the Buffalo-Niagara region comes a month after the area was placed on the eligibility list for UASI funding and nearly seven months after Reynolds brought the DHS Undersecretary for Preparedness George Foresman to tour the area.

"Nearly a year ago, we learned our homeland security funding was threatened, and six months later it was slashed in half," Reynolds said. "However, due to the teamwork between our local partners and federal delegation, our area is eligible for its fair share of funding. And (Friday's) meeting with DHS officials will put our area in a better position to take advantage of this eligibility."

In the past year, Reynolds launched his "F.A.I.R." share plan to shine light on the Buffalo-Niagara region's assets and potential risks and vulnerabilities. His F.A.I.R. share plan included:

+ Facilitating visits by DHS officials to the area to meet with Buffalo-Niagara stakeholders.

+ Attaining a commitment from DHS to consider border proximity in its risk assessment formula; previously it had not been part of the formula.

+ Initiating a helicopter tour, accompanied by the then-Chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, Peter King, as well as DHS risk assessment officials, of the Buffalo-Niagara region to showcase the region's many assets and border proximity.

+ Risk-based requirement for UASI grant legislation sponsor.

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