Editorial: Deliver flood money: Congress should speed up funding for Houston’s critical flood control projects

June 12, 2016

HoustonChronicle

Key excerpts:

  • “It used to be that Representatives could use an earmark to direct the Army Corps of Engineers to put politically important projects at the top of the list. Now discretion is largely left up to executive agencies.
  • “That’s why U.S. Rep. Al Green, a Democrat, proposed a bill that will authorize $311 million in supplemental disaster funds to be spent exclusively for flood control projects in the Houston area. That proposal, House Bill 5025, will set a 10-year deadline for spending these funds and already has 72 co-sponsors, including every Republican representative in the Houston delegation.”
  • “It hasn’t been tried since I’ve been in Congress that a group of members would come together on such a good, bipartisan basis,” Rep. Gene Green, a Democratic co-sponsor, told the editorial board.”
  • “The best thing that Houstonians can do to push the bill along is tell their friends and relatives across the country to encourage their own representatives to support the Tax Day Floods Supplemental Funding Act. Consider those phone calls and emails to be the thoughts and prayers that flood survivors really need.”
  • “Flood control is the sort of project where Congress is either going to pay now or pay later. Whether through FEMA spending, flood recovery or lost federal investments – floods cost Texas more than $3 billion last year, largely from damaged infrastructure – taxpayers will eventually bear a burden from these natural disasters. Paying for prevention up front will save us in the long run.”
  • “Until then, Al Green and Gene Green and their colleagues are working to help Houston at least get the money we need to prepare our city for the next big storm.”