AP NEWS

Katy EDC backs Senate disaster, flood bills in Austin

March 11, 2019

The Katy Area Economic Development Council is backing a series of bills in the Texas State Senate meant to address concerns about disaster preparedness and flood mitigation in Texas and specifically in the greater Houston area.

Katy was hit hard by Hurricane Harvey with hundreds of homes and businesses being destroyed by the flooding that later occurred - especially those in areas that lie within the Addicks and Barker reservoirs.

“Moving forward, without further actions to improve disaster preparedness and mitigate flooding, the area will continue to experience flooding impacting its businesses and residents. Continued occurrence of flooding will not only have massive impacts on business and personal property, but it has the potential to slow economic growth for the entire region,” officials with the Katy Area EDC said in a statement.

Along with other civic groups and business associations that are part of the “Houston Stronger” coalition, the Katy Area EDC said it is backing Texas Senate Bills 6, 7, and 8 to help reduce risks by addressing disaster preparedness and flood planning and making what officials are calling “significant” investment in recovery and future mitigation. The bills were introduced by Texas State Senators Lois Kolkhorst, Brandon Creighton and Charles Perry.

“Their work shows a commitment to addressing flood mitigation and disaster needs statewide,” said Auggie Campbell, a spokesman for the Houston Stronger group. “Senate Bill 7 will help leverage billions of federal dollars for Texas and help our communities plan and fund flood mitigation infrastructure across the state.”

Senate Bill 6 is designed to strengthen emergency response training and programs so disaster planning and response are more effective at the state and local level. Meanwhile, Senate Bill 8 will create a long term planning process for flood control, officials said.

Houston Stronger officials said Texas leads the nation in declared major disasters and square miles of flood-prone land. Since 2015, Texas has had nine declared disasters related to flooding and 65 percent of the counties have experienced flooding.

“Houston Stronger looks forward to working with these leaders as well as other lawmakers and officials in order to develop a comprehensive solution to build a more resilient Texas for the future,” officials with the group said.

mike.glenn@chron.com