United States Department of Transportation (DOT) Secretary Rodney E Slater has announced grants totaling almost $12.8 million to states, territories, and native American tribes for planning and training to improve response to hazardous materials transportation incidents. Funds were made available by DOT's Research and Special Programs Administration (RSPA).
The Hazardous Materials Emergency Preparedness grant program is financed by user fees paid by shippers and carriers of certain hazardous materials. Since 1993, about 814,000 responders and others have received training aid nationwide using Hazardous Materials Emergency Preparedness grant money. Assistance also was given to the nation's approximately 4,000 local emergency planning committees in preparing and exercising hazmat emergency response plans and in conducting commodity flow studies that identify transportation hazards.
Other federal agencies are participating in the program by assisting DOT in developing hazmat curriculum guidelines. These agencies include the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Energy, Department of Labor, and Department of Health and Human Services. The five largest grants were awarded to California, $968,081; Texas, $644,428; Illinois, $627,683; Ohio, $525,378; and New York, $505,572.