Who pays for Hurricane Harvey?

Hurricane Harvey in 2017 was one of the mostly costly natural disasters in history, with damage in Texas estimated at more than $100 billion.

Since the storm, Public Citizen has repeatedly asked the question: Who Pays for Harvey? The answer remains elusive.

HB 274 sponsored by Rep. Giovanni Capriglione provides one solution to this problem, creating the disaster reinvestment and infrastructure planning revolving fund and making a one-time appropriation of $1 billion from the economic stabilization fund.

Public Citizen supports the creation of this fund and the appropriation as one means to pay for Harvey recovery and for that of future storms.

We have commented on similar legislation by Representative Phelan (HB 478 and HB 13) about the need to expand the definition of infrastructure projects to explicitly include green or natural infrastructure projects.

Specifically, we have recommended the addition of “conservation of land, wetlands, or riparian habitats” to the definition of “flood project” at Water Code Sec. 15.531. We understand that this bill’s author Rep. Davis is amenable to such improvements.

We support CSHB 274 because it provides a fund for recovery from Hurricane Harvey and future storms, and because there is opportunity to include green infrastructure projects in the fund.