(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – The Homeland Security Department has released $18 million in first responder grants to the City of Seattle that was appropriated by Congress in February 2003.

It has also awarded $6.8 million in port security grants for the Port of Seattle and $1 million to the King County Department of Transportation for increased security.

Sen. Patty Murray, a member of the Senate’s Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee, released the following statement:

“I am pleased that the Department of Homeland Security has passed along this important funding that Congress had approved in February. It is not a moment too soon. Since September 11th, our cities have faced enormous costs in preparing for and preventing another terrorist incident. The Port of Seattle, which is a critical part of our economy, has also seen increased security costs.

New equipment, communications technology, and overtime pay for first responders have been a costly yet necessary expense for cities and states throughout the country. This funding will help improve preparedness, while easing the load on local taxpayers.

Likewise, our ports are the lifeblood of our region’s economy. An incident at one of our ports would have devastating consequences for our safety and the U.S. economy. That’s why I have fought so hard to increase funding for port security.

I am proud to have helped secure this important funding, and I am pleased that the Department of Homeland Security is now releasing these funds.”

Homeland Security grants announced today:

- $18 million for City of Seattle

- $6.7 million for Port of Seattle

- $1 million for King County Department of Transportation