Assemblymember Kevin Cahill Announces Localities One Step Closer to $100 Million in E911 Grants

March 15, 2004

Assemblymember Kevin Cahill (D-Kingston) announced that the New York State 911 board has adopted standards for the release of $100 million in grants to assist local governments in establishing enhanced wireless 911 (E-911) systems.

"The Assembly fought to include this program in the state budget to make lifesaving improvements to E-911 systems. Getting this money to local governments as quickly as possible will make our communities much safer," Assemblymember Cahill said.

The 911 expedited deployment program was included in the 2003-04 State Budget enacted by the Legislature, after successfully overriding the Governorís vetoes.

Under the program, grants will be provided to local Public Safety Answering Points (PSAPs), sites designated and operated by local governments to receive wireless 911 calls. Only localities which answer their own wireless 911 calls will be eligible. The Department of State will be mailing applications to all counties in the state and completed applications must be received by March 5, 2004. State assistance will pay up to 90 percent of the costs for eligible items, with local governments responsible for a 10 percent match.

Since 1991, New York wireless phone users have paid more than $200 million in surcharges to establish a statewide E-911 emergency telephone communications system. However, despite the revenue collections, New York State has not yet implemented a wireless E-911 system and lags behind many other states. Wireless customers currently pay between $1.20 and $1.50 in surcharges monthly for E-911 programs.

"Up to half of 911 calls are made from wireless phones," Assemblymember Cahill said. "Many people own wireless phones specifically for use in an emergency, and most assume that a 911 operator will be able to trace their location. That New Yorkers have been paying for but going without this lifesaving technology is unconscionable. Itís time to put the technology to work for our families."