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Texas Goes for Federal Credit for Projects Due ‘Decades Ago’

Sept. 12, 2017 (EIRNS)—Leading Texas elected officials are starting to look for Federal credit for major flood-control infrastructure projects which "should have been built ’decades and decades ago,’" in the words of Lt. Gov. Daniel Patrick. An interview with Patrick by the Texas Tribune was part of its Sept. 11 article, "Texas GOP Leaders Pushing for High-Dollar, Long-Delayed Flood Infrastructure." There is for Federal credit for this infrastructure, and a leader in it is Patrick, known as the leading "Tea Party" Republican in Texas.

"We need more levees," Patrick told the paper.

"We need more reservoirs. We need a coastal barrier.... These are expensive items and we’re working with [Senators] Cornyn and Cruz and our Congressional delegation ... to get this right. We’ve now had three major floods in three years—nothing at this level, but major floods."

The building of a series of sea walls and seagates to protect Gulf coastline north and south of the Houston Ship Channel, has been estimated at a $6 billion project.

"State and local officials have said such a project would have to be funded at the Federal level, and some Congressional delegation members —namely Cornyn—have begun pushing for that."

This is really part of the same push—just encouraged by President Trump—of New York and New Jersey members for some $12-13 billion in Federal funding for the crucial "Gateway" rail, bridge and tunnel rebuilding project there.

The Tribune also reports that a new reservoir west of Houston, which requires more than $300 million in investment, is being pushed by Rep. Michael McCaul, Chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee. Rep. Al Green has been asking for appropriations for this for several years, but the situation may now have changed.

And Texas Gov. Greg Abbott is trying to get new EPA funds to the State Water Development Board, as leverage for loans to build other flood control infrastructure, not unnamed in this report. It was the Texas State Water Development Board which, 50 years ago, drafted the major plans for interbasin transfer canals and eight new reservoirs behind the Gulf Coast cities.