Friday, July 15, 2005

Everything changed on 7/7

or did it?

Via ThinkProgress we find this LA Times story:
On the way to passing a $31.8-billion Homeland Security spending bill Thursday, Senate Republican leaders beat back a series of attempts — pressed by senators from states with large urban centers — to increase money for mass transit protection by as much as $1.4 billion. …

In the Senate’s spending bill, rail and transit safety measures were allotted $100 million, a drop of $50 million from last year.
What a difference a week makes.

Mike the Mad Biologist is (not surprisingly) mad. And well he should be. As he notes, a well planned attack on the New York subways could kill 500 people with one bomb. The tunnels aren't adequately ventilated and may not have enough fire suppression, so a London-type attack would be much more deadly, since people couldn't evacuate as easily.

We can all agree that anti-terrorism funding should reach every corner of the country, but the per capita risk is more highly concentrated in the largest cities, not least because that's where the media are, and a terror attack that doesn't make the news is less valuable to al Qaeda. So anti-terrorism money ought to be biased toward urban areas with obvious targets on a per capita basis. Right now, each state gets an equal pile of money from one account, and special funding for certain targets on top of that.

Is there any (non-pork) reason to oppose shifting the state funds to a per capita allocation? On top of that, is there any reason not to move the money saved on that into targeted funding for infrastructure and high-value targets?

I don't think so either.