President Joe Biden signed the Water Resources Development Act of 2022 into law Dec. 23, authorizing the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to begin construction for the Coastal Texas Program, pending the appropriation of funds.

The total authorized funds for the program is estimated to be about $34 billion, and 65% of these funds were requested from the federal government while the remaining 35% will be funded locally by the five-county Gulf Coast Protection District.

The project aims to protect the Gulf Coast and parts of Harris and Galveston counties from catastrophic storm surge caused by natural disaster events, such as hurricanes, through the construction of a coastal barrier. The program features a mixture of projects for reflecting and absorbing storm surge and ecological restoration for the area, according to the USACE.

The GCPD was created in 2021 by the 87th Texas Legislature to act as the nonfederal sponsor of the project. It consists of Chambers, Galveston, Harris, Jefferson and Orange counties.