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Texas Needs $61 Billion More From Feds To Cover Harvey-Related Infrastructure Fixes

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon
KUT News
The Addicks Reservoir crested early on the morning of Aug. 29. 2017 near Briar Hills Parkway and Highway Six sending water in nearby residential neighborhoods.

Five stories that have North Texas talking: Commission to Rebuild Texas sends big figure to feds; who could replace Joe Straus; the bathrooms at an Allen restaurant; and more.

Texas needs $61 billion more in federal funding just to rebuild public infrastructure damaged by Hurricane Harvey. That money would be used to cover projects to prevent future flooding, too.

John Sharp, the chancellor of Texas A&M University, leads the Governor’s Commission to Rebuild Texas. He announced Tuesday that the figure was based on surveys of local officials and U.S. Corps of Army engineer proposals after the storm caused $180 billion in damages statewide.

Gov. Greg Abbott was in Washington D.C. Tuesday lobbying top congressional leaders for the package.

“Sixty percent would go for flood control, 33 percent to buying out and elevating flood-prone homes and buildings, with the rest earmarked for water utilities, roads and bridges and hazard mitigation,” according to The Associated Press.

The Texas Tribune outlined the requests:

$12 billion for the Galveston County Coastal Spine, part of the larger "Ike Dike," a barrier aimed at protecting  coastal areas from hurricane storm surge.
$9 billion for housing assistance in the City of Houston, which would help rebuild 85,000 single and multi-family housing units damaged by Harvey.
$6 billion to buy land, easements, and rights-of-way around Buffalo Bayou and the Addicks and Barker reservoirs.
$2 billion for "coast-wide critical infrastructure protection,” described as flood control and other mitigation projects around critical public infrastructure such as “power plants, communication networks, prison systems, etc.”
$466 million for the Port of Houston to “create resiliency” and harden the Houston Ship Channel.
$115 million to repair 113 county buildings in Harris County.

Congress initially approved a Harvey aid package around $15 billion. A second $36.5 billion bill included funding for recovery in Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico and California. [The Texas Tribune, The Associated Press]

Some links have a pay wall or require a subscription.

  • The replacements: Soon after Texas House Speaker Joe Straus announced he wasn’t running for re-election next year, several lawmakers at least expressed interest in a bid to fill his shoes. So far, four Republicans and one Democrat are on the radar. [The Texas Tribune]

  • Justice for all: Two Texas teenagers are separately suing their high schools in the Houston area for violating their constitutional rights. The students chose to sit down during the Pledge of Allegiance, and in response, were treated harshly. [The New York Times]

  • Women’s health: A new state law this year requires commercial insurers to cover 3D mammograms, a more advanced — and expensive — form of screening for breast cancer than the standard 2D version. [KERA News]

  • Called out: Like many restaurants, the bathrooms at Dodie’s Place in Allen are segregated by sex. But the way that’s made clear is being criticized. An image of Caitlyn Jenner covers the women’s door; on the men’s, a picture of Jenner before her transition. [The Daily Dot]

The High Five is KERA’s daily roundup of stories from Dallas-Fort Worth and across the state. Explore our archives here. And sign up for our weekly email for the North Texas news you need to know.