May 17, 2019

Texas House Passes Flood Control Funding Bill

Legislation has been approved to spend more than $3 million to help pay for flood control projects in the state of Texas

Legislation has been approved to spend more than $3 million to help pay for flood control projects in the state of Texas

The Texas House has approved legislation that would acquire more than $3 billion from the state’s rainy day fund to help pay for flood control projects. This comes nearly two years after Hurricane Harvey.

According to the Texas Tribune, the House version of Senate Bill 7 is a disaster relief bill that Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick declared a priority during the legislative session. The bill combines the Senate version with a House alternative, creating two funds that provide grants and loans for flood control and mitigation projects.

The two funds are the Flood Infrastructure Fund and the Texas Infrastructure Resiliency Fund. The Flood Infrastructure Fund would draw around $3.3 billion from the state’s savings account the Economic Stabilization Fund. According to the Texas Tribune, the second fund outlines the Senate version. The fund would allow cities, counties and other subdivisions to apply for grants with low- or zero-interest loans for project through the Texas Water Development Board.

"It is a great product of two different ideas that I think will serve this state really well for the coming years," said state representative Dade Phelan to the Texas Tribune.

The resiliency fund would be comprised of four accounts, according to the Texas Tribune.  

The Hurricane Harvey account would help draw down federal dollars for flood project, and the Federal Matching account would use state money to help communities with matching funds required for projects that are eligible for partial federal funding, according to Texas Tribune.

Other account that may help finance project include a statewide flood plan. According to the Tribune, this plan would allow representatives to craft a plan and submit it to the water development board for consideration. Those that have high priority projects would be considered first for funding, Perry said.

"Today, the Texas House passed historic flood mitigation legislation that will benefit the state for generations," said Sen. Brandon Creighton. "Hurricane Harvey was the worst storm in U.S. history and exposed serious weaknesses in our infrastructure, and this bill is a strong step forward to ensuring a more resilient Texas."

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