WASHINGTON – More cities across the country are considered at high risk of a terrorist attack, according to a new list of funding priorities from the Homeland Security Department.
Last year the department made 45 cities or regions eligible for a competitive counterterrorism grant program. This year, the list has been expanded to 60 areas that can apply for the nearly $782 million available, according to documents obtained by The Associated Press.
The urban area grants are one of the department's most popular -- and most intensely debated -- programs. The department divides the regions at highest risk of a terrorist attack into two tiers. The seven highest-risk areas -- including Los Angeles, New York and Washington -- will be competing for about $430 million this year. The remaining 53 will compete for about $352 million.
The list has grown and shrunk in recent years, based on decisions the department says are not the result of specific threats or concerns but that reflect an overall analysis of threat data.
Some regions on the list in the past were dropped more recently. For instance, Albany, N.Y., was put back on the list this year after being dropped in 2003.
Other regions added to the list this year are: Rochester, N.Y.; Syracuse, N.Y.; Austin and Round Rock, Texas; Baton Rouge, La.; Bridgeport, Stamford and Norwalk, Conn.; the Hartford, Conn., region; Louisville and Jefferson County in Kentucky and an adjoining area in Indiana; Nashville, Davidson County and Murfreesboro, Tenn.; Richmond, Va.; Riverside, San Bernardino and Ontario, Calif.; Salt Lake City; San Juan, Caguas and Guaynabo, Puerto Rico; and Toledo, Ohio.