Texas Unveils Rebuilding Plan
Recently, the state of Texas submitted a $61 billion rebuilding plan to Congress that detailed how it will rebuild after Hurricane Harvey made landfall in late August.
Gov. Greg Abbott briefed officials on the plan on Tuesday (Nov. 7), and The Houston Chronicle reports that the lion’s share (60 percent) of the funding would go to building up flood-prone areas while the remaining money would pay for thousands of property buyouts and other work.
We're working hard to advocate equitable recovery after #HurricaneHarvey Have you read the @TexasTribune story on lessons learned from Hurricane Ike? #fairhousing https://t.co/C6nuNHdSNB by @brandonformby & @MorganSmith— Texas Housers (@TexasHousers) November 8, 2017
Texas leaders also pushed up the official damage estimate from $150 billion to $180 billion, meaning the request from the federal government won’t even cover half of estimated expenses—and that’s if the state gets all it’s asking for.
"Repeatedly, projections have shown that Harvey is likely to prove to be the costliest natural disaster in U.S. history," said Sen. Ted Cruz. "The president has repeatedly made direct assurances to me that the administration will stand by the people of Texas."
The Chronicle reports, though, that the size of the proposal was met with surprise, calling it “a tough sell” in the midst of all the other disaster recovery that needs funded.
U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, said in a statement, “It's really important for us to remember that there's a lot of work that we need to do in responding to some of the unmet disaster needs around the country, starting with Hurricane Harvey in my state.
"And we look forward to continuing our work with the Administration and members of Congress to make sure that we address these unmet needs."
Within Abbott’s request is a plan to build up infrastructure more so than rebuilding what has been damaged.
Future-proofing the coast will include building detention lakes, dredging canals and the construction of the “Ike Dike,” a $12 billion series of “coastal spines.”
Those three barriers are proposed to prevent incoming storm surges and help water to be pumped out more easily.
The billion-dollar buyout portion of the plan takes a page out of Super Storm Sandy recovery, when New York bought out and destroyed residential areas that were the most vulnerable and turned them into flood buffers.
Attention has also been called to the amount of historically designated areas that were also damaged. A specific plan for those areas has yet to be released.