State Capitol Building of Texas

Senator Creighton Introduces Bill that Could Speed Up Flood Planning, Mitigation

In the wake of Hurricane Harvey, many officials complained bitterly that money from the State’s “rainy day” fund couldn’t be used for flood mitigation projects. Former Harris County Judge Ed Emmett often said, “If Harvey wasn’t a rainy day, I don’t know what is!”

Creighton Introduces Bill That Could Speed Flood Mitigation

Responding to a need that many recognized, in February, Texas State Senator Brandon Creighton introduced SB 695. On March 1, it went to the Senate Water and Rural Affairs Committee. It relates to state policies and programs that affect the funding of flood planning, mitigation, and infrastructure projects.

SB 695 went to the Senate Water and Rural Affairs Committee last Friday.

Creighton’s bill would appropriate $3 billion from the state’s economic stabilization fund to a dedicated flood infrastructure fund. The purpose: to make low- or no-interest loans to cities, counties, and water authorities for:

(1) planning for flood protection;

(2) preparing applications for obtaining regulatory approvals at the local, state, or federal level;

(3) activities associated with administrative or legal proceedings by regulatory agencies; and

(4) preparing engineering plans or specifications to provide structural or nonstructural flood mitigation or drainage.

$3 Billion In Ready Cash Could Streamline Process

The main benefit: the bill provides ready cash in emergencies, such as Harvey, to jumpstart mitigation projects.

Because of the complicated way that grant funding now works, political entities must often apply for grants to raise the money for a local match to then apply for a larger grant. The result: lengthy delays.

Example: it took 18 months to obtain $2 million for a San Jacinto River Basin Study that will take another 12-18 months to execute. By the time people start acting on the findings, it could be another year or two.

Hopefully, Creighton’s SB 695 will reduce the time between problems and solutions so that Texas citizens face less flood risk. Click here, to download and review the full text.

Bill Deserves Bi-Partisan Support

This important bill deserves everyone’s support, Democrats and Republicans alike. It could be one of the most important pieces of legislation taken up this year. My understanding is that former Harris County Judge Emmett, Harris County Flood Control and Houston Stronger all backed the idea.

Posted by Bob Rehak on 3/4/2019

552 Days after Hurricane Harvey