Blog

Congressmen back proposed coastal barrier
Posted by on July 6, 2017 | comments
f t # e
Congressmen back proposed coastal barrier
Houston Chronicle | By Blake Paterson
July 6, 2017
Link

After a helicopter tour across Galveston Island, the Bolivar Peninsula, and the Port of Houston, two Gulf Coast congressmen called Thursday for federal support for the proposed Ike Dike coastal barrier project.

At a news conference at the Houston Police Department hangar at Hobby Airport after their aerial tour, Republican Congressmen Randy Weber and Brian Babin said they hope federal funding for the project will be included in President Donald Trump's planned $1 trillion infrastructure bill.

 

The proposed barrier project, which includes extending and raising the Galveston Seawall, would be designed to protect counties along the coast from a storm surge like the one generated in 2008 by Hurricane Ike, which killed 74 people and caused nearly $30 billion in damage.

The congressmen said they both support a letter signed by more than 60 Texas state leaders in April urging the president to provide $15 billion for the barrier, though they also emphasized cost estimates are still ongoing.

Weber, whose 14th District includes Galveston Island and extends along the coast from Lake Jackson to Beaumont, said he supports the project, citing how storm damage could threaten energy production that would impact national security.

TRANSLATOR

To read this article in one of Houston's most-spoken languages, click on the button below.

"It's not a question of if another hurricane hits, it's when," Weber said. "So would you rather spend $15 billion now, save lives, property jobs, industry, keep our country safe, or do you want to spend $60 or $100 billion after we've lost life, property, and put our national security in a precarious position?"

Babin, whose 36th District extends east along the coast from Baytown, emphasized the potentially detrimental national economic implications of a large storm hitting the region, adding that his district has more petrochemical facilities than any other district in the country.

"Other regions will certainly feel the repercussions of what happens down here when the economy slows or stops because of something like that," Babin said.

"We're making it a national priority as quickly as we can," Weber said. 

Coastal counties stretching from Orange and Jefferson to Harris, Galveston and Brazoria - an area that is home to more than 6.5 million people and the state's major manufacturing and port zone - have been hit hard in past decades by hurricanes and storm surges that have caused billions in damages.

Both congressmen are members of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and said they have spoken to Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao about the need for the coastal barrier.

Babin said he also met with Mick Mulvaney, the Director of Office Management and Budget, about including funding for the project in President Trump's 2018 budget.

Tags:
f t # e