Houston officials question GLO plans for federal disaster relief allocation
Houston-area government officials are voicing their concerns after the Texas General Land Office (GLO) announced the region would receive about one-fourth of the $4.3 billion in federal disaster assistance awarded to the state.
Flooding in Port Arthur during Hurricane Harvey
Flood managers and other officials in Houston said they were expecting the area would get about half of the funds coming from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). GLO officials deny such commitments were made.
Municipalities of varying population sizes and land areas, utility districts, river agencies, and state agencies in 49 coastal counties are all competing for $2.1 billion in Community Development Block Grant Mitigation (CDBG-MIT) funds that the GLO has been assigned to distribute.
Some of the projects that are eligible for the grants are wider bayous, detention ponds and basins, larger drainage pipes, sewer plant upgrades, and floodplain home buyouts.
The draft plan incorporates critical stakeholder input received during CDBG-MIT planning public hearings conducted in September, regional input sessions at various councils of governments, and a mitigation needs survey that captured information from 416 respondents across the state. Additionally, the GLO consulted with federal and state agencies to develop the Mitigation Needs Assessment and the state’s proposed mitigation programs and competitions.
Those efforts led the GLO to propose allocating $2.3 billion for projects in areas that storms flooded in 2015 or 2016 or by Hurricane Harvey. Of that amount, Houston, Harris County, and the Harris County Flood Control District are eligible for up to $1 billion.
The GLO hosted three public hearings in Dallas, the Rio Grande Valley, and Houston this week to gather input on the state’s action plan
, which is available online. GLO officials will respond to comments in the final submission of the document to HUD for approval.