Virginia’s COMLINC: An example of a successful transition to a viable funding source

By Tom Gagnon

With state and locality budgets facing increased pressure, the prospects of transitioning equipment purchased and maintained with grant funds to a budget line item can appear bleak. However, with the correct approach, the odds of a successful transition can be greatly increased.

Following September 11, 2001, states and localities received unprecedented federal grant funding, which resulted in major acquisitions of public safety communications equipment. While greatly enhancing public safety entities’ (PSE) effectiveness, these acquisitions were often made without establishing long-term sustainment plans.

Sustainment funding became an afterthought, as states and localities hurried to secure use-or-lose grant opportunities or assumed grant funding would remain sufficiently adequate to perform sustainment. Facing myriad competing priorities, state and locality governments often accepted risk by assuming equipment maintenance, upgrade, and replacement could be accomplished—in part or completely—with grant funds.

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