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Boost security funding New formula should recognize risks Western New York faces

So, maybe Washington will get this right after all. Reports say the Department of Homeland Security will chuck the skewed funding formula that pushed Buffalo to the bottom of a list of 46 at-risk urban areas.

Instead, the new formula is expected to acknowledge the obvious: With four international automobile bridges, a massive power plant and enough hazardous wastes to gladden the hearts of dirty bombers everywhere, this is a region whose risk level is more than average.

While the decision has not been formally made, reports are that the proposed new method for distributing Homeland Security funds will place greater emphasis on intelligence information about terror threats and on proximity to a national border. Western New York scores high on both, given its location and the story of the "Lackawanna Six."

This is an important change for this region, even if (or maybe especially because) Americans may be starting to wonder if the threat of catastrophic attacks is less than it appeared five years ago. It takes only one repeat of a calamity like 9/1 1 to make clear the need to take adequate precautions in sensitive areas, including Western New York.

The threat to Buffalo's funding was severe. Not only had the existing formula drastically downgraded the region's need for funding, but it would have left the city ineligible even to apply for Homeland Security funds in 2007.

Clearly, Buffalo is not the tempting target that New York, Los Angeles and other large cities are. But even if the risks are lesser, the attraction can only become greater as security is tightened in those metropolises. The consequence of inattention could be unbearable.

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