U.S. Homeland Security Chief Michael Chertoff toured a major New York transportation hub Monday as part of a bid by New York officials for increased federal anti-terror funding.
Mr. Chertoff was given an informational tour of Grand Central Terminal where five New York City subway lines and commuter trains from Connecticut and suburban New York bring more than 150,000 people to work every day. Thousands more pass through the station to shop and go to work in the office building atop the station.
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg says the city's position as a transportation center and a target of attack mean it should be given more federal dollars than less vulnerable areas. "Homeland Security funding should be based on risk and risk alone. And the bulk of the funding should go to cities like New York that face the gravest threat of attack," he said.
Many officials representing the New York region say the area is being short-changed by politicians in Washington who want to send federal dollars to their home states. "The terrorists look for our weakest pressure point. If you strengthen air security, they will look at the port. And if you strengthen the port, they will look at trucks. If you strengthen trucks, they will look at rail. So we need an activist secretary who is going to make those arguments within the Administration that we must do more for Homeland Security,' said Charles Schumer, the senior United States Senator from New York, who is one of those advocating a risk-based approach to federal funding.
Secretary Chertoff received a briefing about security measures at Grand Central Terminal, which is patrolled by national guard troops in addition to police and trained dogs. He said his department is fighting for a risk-based approach to security funding. "We do believe in having a risk-based approach to everything that we do at the Department of Homeland Security. What that means is that we want to measure potential consequences, we want to measure potential threats and we want to measure potential vulnerability," he said.
After a meeting between New York officials and Mr. Chertoff earlier this month, the Department of Homeland Security gave the metropolitan New York region an additional $42 million in transportation security funds