"anti-terror" measures expensive for American local governments
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The following article, by Arizona Republic reporter
Ginger D. Richardson, appeared on pages A1 and A2 of
the Thursday, February 19, 2004 edition of the Arizona
Republic. America's taxpayers are having to pay
through the nose for this so-called "war on terror",
and not just for the cost of sending troops to Iraq
and Afghanistan and paying "Israeli" extortion, but
also for local security measures that accomplish
nothing but the inconvenience of the citizens and
the violation of their civils rights. In another
story, the FAA is considering increasing the fines
for people who inadvertently take weapons or other
forbidden objects through airport security. They
would have a lot less grief if they just let us take
our guns, knives, and box cutters aboard. I have
also noticed that the price of gasoline seems to be
increasing again. It was about $1.50 per gallon
(40 cents per litre) a few weeks ago, and it is now
about $1.75 (46 cents per litre). If that was the
work of the Iraqi resistance, I'll gladly bear the
"Smile, for this aircraft takes you to God."
ANTI-TERROR COSTS HURT PHOENIX
Federal Mandates Already At $45 Million
Phoenix has spent $45 million on homeland security
costs and faces hundreds of millions more in future
expenses that could be passed on to taxpayers in water
rate increases and other fees.
Last fall, city officials warned that they might have
to consider budget cuts and further delays to key
capital-improvement projects at Sky Harbor
International Airport, the nation's fifth-busiest,
because Congress continues to demand anti-terrorism
enhancements without a plan to pay for them.
But now, officials have started calculating costs
to other departments besides aviation. ANd the
unreimbursed dollars are adding up fast.
"The local governments have had to pick up more than
their fair share," Mayor Phil Gordon said. "Our
budgets are at the breaking point."
Hardest hit continues to be Sky Harbor with about
$30 million in unreimbursed expenses. But city
officials have spent $13 million shoring up the
safety of the city's water supply and an additional
$1.1 million in Police Department overtime.
And although they can seek federal grants to offset
some of the public-safety expenses, there doesn't
appear to be any money to compensate the Water
"Those reimbursements are not even on the horizon,"
said Cecile Pettle, the city's budget director.
Already the city is forecasting a five percent water
rate increase for each of the next five years.
Wastewater fees could jump seven percent in 2005 and
2006, and five percent annually through 2009, Deputy
City Manager Andrea Tevlin said.
More Expense Ahead
"That's just our forecast," Tevlin said. "And
unfortunately, it doesn't begin to cover our
projections in what we will need to spend security-
The city has identified nearly $100 million in future
But the problem is not unique to Phoenix. Cities
nationwide face similar woes.
"We estimate that cities and towns have spent close
to $3 billion on homeland security since September
11," said Michael Reinemer, director of communications
for the National League of Cities, an organization
that represents municipalities' interests in
Washington, D.C. "The bulk of that has been
unrecouped. It is a major issue everywhere."
Denver, for example, estimates that it incurred
$500,000 in unanticipated expenses in 19 days last
year while the United States raised its terror level
threat to "orange."
"It adds up quickly," said Chuck Cannon, a spokesman
for the Denver International Airport.
In Phoenix, officials have spent millions bomb-
proofing airport walls, implementing new security
master plans and installing new technology that will
allow officials to more quickly and accurately detect
the presence of chemical or biological agents in the
city's water supply.
But even more substantial costs loom.
The latest and most expensive is the "EDS," an
electronic screening system for checked baggage
designed to speed travelers through gate security
checkpoints with the same efficiency as before
September 11, 2001.
The project, with an estimated $120 million price tag,
will replace the current system in which passengers
or security personnel feed checked baggage through
automobile-size machines located haphazardly
throughout the airport.
Federal Funds Lacking
The EDS improvements are designed to keep security
checks away from the passenger areas and eliminate the
need for travelers or security agents to carry large
pieces of luggage through different areas of the
But the government does not have the money to pay
for all of it. The federal Transportation Security
Administration has asked cities across the country to
front the money for the project, with the
understanding that the federal government will
reimburse them for 75 percent of the cost.
In Phoenix, the remaining 25 percent of the cost
still would be about $30 million.
On Wednesday, Homeland Security officials and two
members of Arizona's congressional delegation,
Republicans J.D. Hayworth and Trent Franks, announced
at a news conference that the security agency had
signed a letter of intent with the city. That
agreement outlines the 75/25 percent funding plan
for the electronic baggage-injection system. Under
the agreement, the city would front the money for
the entire project but should be reimbursed for
about $91.5 million of the total cost.
City Weathers Storm
The funding, which would be paid out over four years,
still must be approved by Congress and included in
the federal budget.
Some cities, like Phoenix, have weathered the storm
with more success than others, said Reinemer, of the
National League of Cities.
Others, like New Haven, Connecticut, have laid off
police officers as a result of the soaring expenses,
"This is one of our top legislative priorities,"
Reinemer said. "We don't want to get into a situation
where basic, traditional public safety is squeezed
out in the name of homeland security.
"We have to get more help from the federal
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"I, Ernst Zundel, do solemnly swear that I will lie and nothing
but lie, because the truth is not a defense at this hearing."