• New Jersey faces costly water infrastructure upgrades

    Before Hurricane Sandy hit New Jersey, state officials knew they had much work ahead of them to update the state’s water infrastructure. The damage Sandy inflicted only highlighted the inadequacies of New Jersey’s outdated wastewater, stormwater, and drinking water infrastructure. Upgrading the system will be costly, but not doing so will be costlier.

  • Defense companies turn their attention to border security

    The U.S. involvement in the Iraq war is over, and the country will soon withdraw its troops from Afghanistan. Federal budgets cuts shrink agencies’ ability to conduct research and development. Faced with these realities, military contractors have begun to focus on border security. What many defense companies find especially appealing is the fact that the Senate immigration bill conditions any move toward legalizing the status of more than eleven million illegal immigrants in the United States on the strengthening of security along the U.S.-Mexico border.

  • Nevada lawmakers fail to restore DHS funds to Las Vegas

    Members of the Nevada congressional delegation were taken aback when they found that Las Vegas would lose DHS funding for anti-terror programs, and immediately began to work their fellow lawmakers on the Hill to add money to DHS security grants to cities. The effort failed, and Las Vegas will have to find other sources of funding for some of the city’s security programs.

  • Lawmaker offers a way to finance U.S. infrastructure investment -- with no taxpayers’ money

    Representative John Delaney (D-Maryland) says has an answer to the nation’s infrastructure problems, and that it will not cost taxpayers a dime. The money will be raised through the sale of special bonds, not guaranteed by the government, to companies that earn profits outside the United States.

  • House panel cuts DHS chemical plant monitoring program’s budget

    Budget authors in the House proposed cutting almost $9 million from what DHS had requested for high-risk chemical tracking in the 2014 fiscal year. The House Appropriations Committee, indicating its lack of confidence in DHS’s oversight of fertilizer plants like Texas’s West Fertilizer Company, which exploded earlier this year, also withheld $20 million from the program until DHS responded in detail to questions the committee sent the department.

  • U.S. infrastructure drops in world infrastructure ranking

    The U.S. infrastructure has slipped badly in the world’s infrastructure ranking, both in absolute and relative terms, according to the Global Competitiveness Report for 2012-13, published earlier this month by the World Economic Forum.

  • San Diego to receive $16.9 million in DHS funding

    Some cities see DHS cutting its funding for their terrorism-related programs, but other cities see such funding increasing. A case in point is San Diego, which will receive $16.9 million in DHS funding to strengthen the city’s security against terrorist attacks.

  • DHS cuts funding for Las Vegas’ terrorism-related programs

    Federal aid to terrorism-related programs in Las Vegas has been steadily decreasing in recent years. Next year, the city which boasts fifteen of the world’s largest hotels, and which is home to more than forty million tourists a year, will no longer receive any DHS funds for terrorism-related security programs.

  • Panel's draft bill shields DHS funds

    A house panel introduced a bill last week that will protect DHS from budget cuts facing other domestic agencies under the house’s budget plan. This will allow the department to hire 1,600 new agents at Customs and Border Patrol agency, replace cuts to local and state governments, boost spending on cybersecurity, and abandon cuts to the Coast Guard.

  • FAA gave bonuses to employees while flights were delayed or canceled

    Internal FAA documents show that in early February, while passengers got stranded at airports across the country because sequester-mandated cuts in the FAA budget which led the agency to furlough air-traffic controllers, FAA employees received bonuses for their performance on the job.

  • Federal budget deficit falling fast – perhaps too fast, some economists say

    In each of the last four years the federal budget has exceeded $1 trillion dollars every year. This year, however, the government’s annual deficit is falling faster than anyone thought it would. Some economists say it may be falling too fast. In FY2009-10, the deficit was more than 10 percent of GDP. On present trends, by 2015 the federal budget deficit would be just 2.1 percent of GDP.

  • White House to take a second look at FAA furloughs

    The White House hinted Wednesday that it could accept legislation which would end Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) furloughs. Passengers have been in arms over lengthening flight delays and a growing number of flight cancellations, while GOP lawmakers accused the FAA of implementing the sequester-mandated budget cut in such a way so as to cause maximum inconvenience to passengers.

  • Atlanta losing DHS area security grant money

    The city of Atlanta is losing DHS grant money used to strengthen the city’s ability to protect against a terrorist attack. Despite being home to recent high profile events such as the NCAA’s Final Four, federal records show the amount of money allocated to Atlanta through urban area security grants has dropped from $13 million in 2010 to $5 million last year.

  • Office implementing Obamacare avoids furloughs

    Gary Cohen, the director of the Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight, said Wednesday that his office will not be furloughing its workers due to the federal budget cuts known as the sequester. His office is in charge of implementing most of President Obama’s healthcare law.

  • N.Y. lawmakers oppose proposed hikes in U.S.-Canada border crossing fees

    The U.S. government is considering charging a new fee for every vehicle or pedestrian crossing the U.S.–Canada border. This has upset lawmakers in New York who argue the toll would hurt trans-boundary commerce and undermine efforts to ease the flow of traffic and goods between the two countries. Moreover they suggest that the real purpose of the proposed fees is to subsidize the more expensive security operations along the U.S.-Mexico border.