Sens. Conrad Burns (R-Mont.) and Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.) have submitted two requests asking that $42 million in the 2007 federal budget be earmarked to fund improvements to public-safety answering points.

The funding request is less than 20% of the $250 million authorized in the ENHANCE 911 Act of 2004 championed by Burns and Clinton. Although the act authorized $1.25 billion over five years for matching grants that public-safety entities could use to improve their 911 communications systems, no money has been appropriated to fund the program (see story on page 48).

“It's a political reality, given the budget crunch that we're under right now,” said Patrick Halley, government affairs director for the National Emergency Number Association.