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Hawaii losing $6.5 million in federal security funding

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The federal government today eliminated nearly $5 million in annual anti-terrorism money distributed to Honolulu, which is holding a summit of world leaders later this year.

The Department of Homeland Security also reduced another $1.5 million from a separate grant that goes to the state government.

The loss of the money will harm the state’s preparedness for November’s Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation meeting in Honolulu, said Ed Teixeira, vice director for Hawaii State Civil Defense.

The funding was previously used to buy items including communications equipment and computer software upgrades for law enforcement agencies, he said.

Without it, Hawaii will struggle to stretch its remaining funding to meet security needs in advance of the APEC conference, he said.

Honolulu was one of more than 30 urban areas nationwide losing the funding, which was based on the federal government’s assessment of terrorism risk in the area.

The city’s grant was worth $4.7 million last year, but it will receive no money from the Urban Areas Security Initiative in the current fiscal year, Teixeira said.

The grant program for cities was launched in 2003 in response to security threats in the wake of the terrorist attacks.

More than 60 cities have been awarded the grants since 2008, and Honolulu had received the funding every year since 2005, Teixeira said.

Money for the Urban Areas Security Initiative grants has been cut by about $170 million as part of a larger budget reductions that eliminated more than $780 million in grant money from the latest federal budget.

Only 31 high-threat urban areas, including New York and Washington, will still receive grants this year.

A state homeland security grant fell from $6.6 million last year to $5.1 million this year, Teixeira said.

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