RealNews

Feds offer fire departments $750 million in grants for anti-terror efforts

Homeland Security Director Tom Ridge announced $750 million in grants Monday to help rural, urban and suburban fire departments better train, prepare and equip for the war on terrorism. Ridge urged about 3,000 mayors and council members attending this year’s National League of Cities legislative conference to use the Assistance to Firefighters grants wisely. He recommended that leaders pool their resources in mutual aid agreements between neighboring cities, or to develop new training programs and buy equipment. Many state and city governments, facing the most severe budget deficits in decades, are dismayed with the 2003 budget passed by the Republican-controlled Congress. It includes only $1.3 billion of the $3.5 billion in new funds that President Bush had promised to spend for state and local emergency workers. The National League of Cities president, New Haven, Conn., Mayor John DeStefano, wondered how cities would be able to meet higher security costs while they are facing an economic downturn. Full Story

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