WASHINGTON — Lawmakers have added $50 million to an anti-terrorism program that funds major U.S. cities including Las Vegas that are deemed at risk for terror attack.
The extra money comes from an amendment on a 2008 homeland security spending bill. The amendment passed 244-174 on Tuesday.
The amendment increases spending to $850 million next year under the Urban Area Security Initiative, or UASI, a grant program shared by nearly 50 cities.
The funding will be used to increase intelligence and communication efforts in Las Vegas, said Carolyn Levering, Clark County plans and operations coordinator for emergency management and security.
The $850 million anti-terrorism program has $80 million more than last year’s budget after passage of the House amendment. The bill faces further votes in the Senate.
Rep. Shelley Berkley, D-Nev., cosponsored the amendment and voted for it. Reps. Jon Porter, R-Nev., and Dean Heller, R-Nev., also voted for it.
“Anybody that doesn’t think that Las Vegas is a target-rich environment for terrorists and terrorism is living in a dream world,” Berkley said, citing Nellis Air Force Base, Strip resorts and nearby Hoover Dam as potential targets.
Las Vegas received $7.75 million from the “high threat” grant program last year despite the Department of Homeland Security issuing a warning that it could be taken off the list of cities eligible for the federal grant.
The department rescinded its warning after Nevada officials pointed out a number of inaccuracies in the department’s threat assessment of the city.
Next year’s UASI budget for Las Vegas will be determined July 3, Levering said.