Times Staff Writer
TAMPA — It's official: Tampa will get $50 million in federal money to cover security costs for next year's Republican National Convention.
President Barack Obama on Friday signed a wide-ranging appropriations bill that contains the money, as well as another $50 million for the Democratic convention in Charlotte, N.C.
The House and Senate passed the bill, which funds the federal government through Dec. 16, on Thursday.
City officials had said they needed the money by the end of the year so they could get on with planning. On Friday, Mayor Bob Buckhorn, who lobbied members of Congress in July for the money, welcomed the news.
"I am confident that the $50 million allocation will allow us to host a convention that not only showcases Tampa, but is safe and enjoyable for everyone," said Buckhorn, who is on a trade mission to Israel, in a statement released by his office. "This is our chance to tell Tampa's story to the world."
The funds will allow Tampa officials to bring in 3,000 to 4,000 more law enforcement officers and buy or lease surveillance cameras to monitor downtown crowds and protests during the convention, scheduled for Aug. 27-30. The event is expected to draw 50,000 people, including 10,000 to 15,000 demonstrators.
Past national political conventions also have received up to $50 million, which goes to the host cities, not the political parties. The appropriation is separate from the $55 million in private funds that the 2012 Tampa Bay Host Committee is trying to raise to help stage the convention and promote Tampa Bay.