By declaring an emergency, Mr. Bush opened the door for D.C. to get additional Federal funding to deal with the unique challenges that will accompany the influx.
An emergency declaration doesn't mean that a dangerous event has been identified or is expected to occur.
According to White House press secretary Dana Perino, the federal assistance is specifically available "for emergency protective measures that are undertaken to save lives and protect public health and safety."
Fifteen million dollars were allocated to D.C. last year for the Inauguration, and the additional funds will supplement that money if necessary.
District of Columbia Mayor Adrian M. Fenty requested the emergency declaration, the Associated Press reports, out of concerns that the city lacked the resources to protect the large crowds expected on Inauguration weekend.
If it is needed, the extra money would come from the budget of the Federal Emergency Management Agency.