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Harris County and Houston appeal to HUD for flood funds

Hope this helps.

Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo and Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner on Friday asked U.S. Housing Secretary Marcia Fudge to set a 30-day deadline for the Texas General Land Office to formally request $750 million in federal flood control aid that Land Commissioner George P. Bush recently said he would seek.

“Given this matter involves funds allocated in February of 2018, the rules were promulgated in August of 2019, and hurricane season has already begun for 2021, HUD (the U.S. Housing and Urban Development Department) should require the GLO to submit this amendment within the next 30 days,” Hidalgo and Turner wrote.

Since late May, when the GLO announced its plan to distribute an initial round of about $1 billion in mitigation funds approved by Congress after Hurricane Harvey, Houston-area officials have hammered Bush for not directing a penny of the aid to the city or the county. In response, Bush said he would ask HUD, which oversees the federal relief money, to directly send $750 million to Harris County — essentially bypassing the GLO’s criteria for scoring flood project applications.

Hidalgo and Turner have said the $750 million falls well short of the $2 billion they believe the city and county should receive — $1 billion apiece — to fund projects aimed at mitigating the effects of future storms. In the letter to Fudge and at a congressional hearing Friday, they sought HUD’s help in securing roughly that amount from the $4.3 billion that Congress allotted for Texas after the 2017 storm.

“We’re asking that HUD approve this amendment (for $750 million) … as a down payment toward an equitable share for all governmental entities within Harris County,” Hidalgo said.

Turner noted that Houston still has not been promised any flood mitigation relief because Bush has said he plans to ask HUD to send the $750 million directly to Harris County. Bush said the county, which faces a $1.4 billion funding gap for its $2.5 billion flood bond approved by voters in 2018, could then decide how much to give the city.

The city and county collectively applied for $1.34 billion to cover 14 flood projects: five from the city and nine from the county.

See here for the background (there are more links to previous posts in that one). I don’t know what is likely to come of this, but the goal is to get more funding for the region, and for both the city and the county to have their own projects funded, rather than have the city depend on the county to give it a share of its allocation. We’ll keep an eye on this. The Texas Signal and the Press have more.

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2 Comments

  1. Jason Hochman says:

    I’m not sure that the HUD is going to listen to this request. Federal funding is meticulously accounted by the agencies. One thing in favor of the city and the county is that summer is starting, and the federal agencies will look for places to unloaded money like crazy during the summer, because, the federal fiscal year ends September 30. So the agencies use the summer to toss out all of their allotted money, in order to have it gone by the end of summer, to make sure that the new year will not get them a funding cut.

    What does the start of the 2021 hurricane season have to do with this? There aren’t going to be any projects completed this hurricane season if they go get some funding.

    Again, the state criteria for funding projects emphasized social vulnerability. The city and the county didn’t score high enough because they are wealthy, and should be using their tax money wisely, instead of squandering it. The federal aid should go to the poorest counties. That is the definition of equitable, so it is odd to see the Democrats saying that one billion dollars each is the “equitable share for all governmental entities in Harris County.” Equality is out, and equity is in, but equity means that we are all equal. If you are rich, it will be taken away from you, and given to those who have the greatest need.

    We can now see that the Democrats don’t understand the concept of equity and community. I am the smartest human ever. The Ashkenazi race has a small gene pool, but includes Albert Einstein, Jerry Seinfeld, and Henry Kissinger. I am probably as genetically close to them as a 10th cousin or closer. As the smartest human, if I decide to run, I will make some changes at city hall, and use the funding much more efficiently and frugally, in order to let the less wealthy counties receive a benefit.

  2. Lobo says:

    Re: “Bush said the county, which faces a $1.4 billion funding gap for its $2.5 billion flood bond approved by voters in 2018, could then decide how much to give the city.”

    Variation on divide & conquer strategy? … sowing discord over insufficient flood mitigation funding between county and city, both controlled by different sets of Democrats?