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Congressman Tom MacArthur

Representing the 3rd District of New Jersey

MacArthur and Norcross Urge DHS to Provide South Jersey with Emergency Funding

May 30, 2018
Press Release

MacArthur and Norcross Urge DHS to Provide South Jersey with Emergency Funding

Freeholder Director Gibbs continues working this issue for Burlington County

 

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Tom MacArthur and Congressman Donald Norcross have urged DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen to change the Urban Areas Security Initiative (UASI), so South Jersey receives its fair share of funding for emergencies.

The Representatives are advocating for the funds to be allotted to the counties in each zone, like Burlington and Camden counties, rather than to a single, large city. In Fiscal Year 2017, the Philadelphia UASI zone, an area comprised of counties within Pennsylvania and New Jersey, received a total of $17,763,000. However, despite New Jersey’s high population density, risk of terror threat, designation as an evacuation area, and exposure to hurricanes, New Jersey has received none of this funding.

 

“In the event of a major event in Philadelphia, Mount Laurel, a town in my district, is set to be an evacuation zone and the Burlington County Public Safety telecommunications towers would be utilized by first responders in the region. These funds from the federal government should be disbursed throughout the areas that will be responsible for assisting with a response to a major event,” said Congressman Tom MacArthur. “I’d like to commend Freeholder Director Gibbs for continuing her advocacy on this issue. I’d also like to thank Congressman Norcross for joining in this fight, as we have worked together on many key issues like ensuring the strength of the Joint Base and tackling our opioid epidemic.”

 

“It’s outrageous that Burlington County is within this region’s security zone, yet the City of Philadelphia is not sharing any of the millions of dollars it receives every year with us or other counties in South Jersey,” said Burlington County Freeholder Director Kate Gibbs. “This important emergency preparedness funding could be used to help offset the costs to our taxpayers of our $40 million public safety communications upgrade project, which is mandated by the FCC.”

 

Full text of the letter:

 

Hon.  Kirstjen Nielsen, Secretary

U.S. Department of Homeland Security

64 New York Avenue NE

Washington, DC 20002

 

Dear Secretary Nielsen,

 

As Representatives of South Jersey, we are writing you to encourage the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to reform the Urban Areas Security Initiative (UASI) so that federal funds are allotted fairly within a metropolitan area.

 

Since the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, Congress has taken important steps in developing preventative measures against future attacks and/or catastrophic events, including the creation of the UASI program. As you are aware, UASI applications are determined through an analysis of relative risk faced by the 100 most populous Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs) in the United States. 

 

In Fiscal Year 2017, the Philadelphia metropolitan area, an area comprised of counties within Pennsylvania and New Jersey, received a total of $17,763,000.  However, despite New Jersey’s high population density, risk of terror threat, designation as an evacuation area, and exposure to hurricanes our state has received none of this funding.

 

If Philadelphia were to be evacuated, municipalities in New Jersey are marked as major evacuation zones and all first responders from the Delaware River to the Atlantic Ocean will be connected to South Jersey’s emergency telecommunication network.

 

It is hard to imagine giving the region such a large responsibility to provide aid and failing to provide the recourses necessary to upgrade critical infrastructure. For this reason, we request that you work to reform the UASI program so that all high-risk areas within these MSAs have the resources to provide necessary aid in the event of an emergency.

 

Thank you for your consideration of this important matter. We look forward to working with you to ensure that South Jersey is prepared should tragedy strike.

 

Sincerely,

 

 

 

Tom MacArthur                                               Donald Norcross

Member of Congress                                       Member of Congress