WASHINGTON – States and localities will receive $1.5 billion to help pay for the costs of increasing security during the war with Iraq, Homeland Security Director Tom Ridge (search) said Tuesday.
The funds are in addition to $1.6 billion in federal funds already going to state and local governments.
"You cannot secure the homeland from Washington, D.C.," Ridge said. "You can only secure it from the hometown."
During the Iraq war, the government raised the color-coded warning system from yellow to orange and undertook Operation Liberty Shield (search) to try to prevent a terrorist attack on American soil. The stepped-up security procedures were in place from March 17 to April 17.
The plan involved the participation of all levels of government and private industry, and included random searches of cars at airports, stepped up security at bridges and landmarks, greater security at nuclear power facilities and petroleum and chemical plants, and increased scrutiny of feedlots, stockyards and food storage areas.
Local officials have criticized the Bush administration for what they say is a lack of financial help for increased security measures.
Ridge also has called on Congress to change the formula for dispersing hundreds of thousands of dollars in federal aid, which now go to states on a population basis. The homeland security secretary, a former Pennsylvania governor, said the formula should also account for population density, the presence of national landmarks, critical public works projects, and the likelihood of an attack.
On a related issue, Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman (search), the top Democrat on the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee, said Ridge needed to do more to provide communications equipment to first responders to terrorist attacks, such as police and fire departments.
"I do not believe that the administration has focused sufficient leadership nor has it proposed or made the investments that we need to rise to the challenge," wrote Lieberman, a Democratic presidential candidate.