Ahead of Reconciliation, Congresswoman Lizzie Fletcher Urges Additional Funding to U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for Flood Mitigation
Washington, September 14, 2021
Congresswoman Lizzie Fletcher (TX-07) led members of the Texas Congressional delegation in a letter to House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure Chairman Peter DeFazio (OR-04) urging inclusion of robust funding for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) in its portion of the Build Back Better Act to address the nearly $100 billion backlog of authorized projects.
“As our community recovers from Hurricane Nicholas, and as communities across the country recover from devastating storms, we know the importance of preparing for storms in every possible way. Investing in our infrastructure is essential to those efforts,” said Congresswoman Lizzie Fletcher. “It is critical that we prioritize funding the Army Corps’ projects to protect our communities from flooding now.”
In the letter, the Members wrote: “USACE faces a backlog of almost $100 billion in projects, more than 10 times its appropriation for the most recent fiscal year. While the total in outstanding projects can be quantified, the human cost of incomplete projects is incalculable.
They continued: “We can also see the human benefits of this investment. When Hurricane Ida struck the coast of Louisiana—causing significant infrastructure damage, heavy flooding, and power outages throughout the southeastern part of the state—the more than $14 billion USACE investment in the New Orleans levee system prevented a mass flooding event like the city experienced during Hurricane Katrina.
“In 2017, Hurricane Harvey hit the Texas coast, dropping 9 trillion gallons of water, killing 68 people, and causing more than $125 billion in damages. It was the third 500-year flood in three years. In response, USACE committed nearly $5 billion in funding to disaster recovery projects in Texas. These ongoing projects will be vital to the safety and security of our region as we prepare for storms that scientists tell us will continue to increase in size, frequency, and duration as a result of climate change.
“We appreciate the inclusion of almost $17 billion for USACE resiliency and waterway infrastructure projects in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. When viewed in context of the demonstrated need reflected in approved projects, however, it would take six of these infrastructure packages to cover the costs of the current project backlog alone. To that end, we ask that you prioritize flooding mitigation projects in reconciliation discussions and support investment in this essential infrastructure. Our country and communities cannot afford to wait.”
The letter was signed by House Members Al Green (TX-09), Henry Cuellar (TX-28), Sylvia Garcia (TX-29), Colin Allred (TX-32), Marc Veasey (TX-33), Vicente Gonzalez (TX-15), and Filemon Vela (TX-34). You can see the full letter here.The Senate-passed Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act includes $17 billion for USACE resiliency and waterway infrastructure projects. This bill is now making its way through the House. Congresswoman Fletcher has advocated for dedicated funding for regional coastal resiliency projects, like the Texas Coastal Spine or Ike Dike, in this infrastructure package.