Harris County gets $4.5 billion in federal funds for flood-control projects

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Harris County has acquired about $4.5 billion in federal funds for flood prevention projects across the area, bringing the county closer to solving its numerous flooding issues, officials said Monday.

U.S. Rep.  John Culberson, R-Houston; Harris County Judge Ed Emmett; and Russ Poppe, Harris County Flood Control District executive director, held a press conference Monday at the Evelyn Rubenstein Jewish Community Center of Houston, which flooded severely during Hurricane Harvey, to discuss the funds.

“The critical message here today is that there’s enough money, as I promised, in that $5 billion package to complete every federally authorized flood-control project in Harris County at 100 percent federal expense,” Culberson said.

“The money coming from the federal government is going to be critical,” Emmett said. “It takes money. We all have to recognize that.”

According to a press release, the funds will be allocated as such:

  • Sabine Pass to Galveston Bay Coastal Storm Risk Management and Ecosystem Restoration Project: about $4 billion
  • Clear Creek: $295 million
  • Brays Bayou: $75 million
  • Hunting Bayou: $65 million
  • White Oak Bayou: $45 million
  • Buffalo Bayou and tributaries: $1.4 million

“Those have been there. We’ve got to get them done. And then that allows us to start looking at, OK, what are the other places?” Emmett said.

About $14 million will be used to study future flood-control projects along the Buffalo Bayou and tributaries, Brazos River, Texas coast and more, according to the release.

The addition of federal dollars does not subtract the need for the upcoming Harris County $2.5 billion bond election that would allow the flood control district to fund local flood-prevention projects, Emmett said.

“The amount we’re asking for in the bond isn’t enough to do everything that needs to be done. The reality is if we had to do everything necessary to make our county resilient … it’d be a great magnitude more than $2.5 billion,” he said.

Culberson officially voiced support for the bond election.

“I can put 3 federal dollars down for every 1 local dollar that’s put forward. So the passage of this bond package is essential to help complete all flood-control projects here in Harris County…” he said.

Emmett said he did not want to contemplate the idea of the bond not passing. County residents seem to be in overwhelming support of the bond, he said.

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Jake Magee
Jake Magee has been a print journalist for a few years, covering topics such as city government, education, business and more. Starting off at a daily newspaper in southern Wisconsin, Magee covered two small cities before being promoted to covering city government in the heart of newspaper's coverage area. He moved to Houston in mid-2018 to be an editor with Community Impact. In his free time, Magee enjoys playing video games, jamming on the drums and bass, longboarding and petting his cat.
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