Texas Law Pours “Rainy Day” Funds into New Flood Relief FundsMay 18, 2020
Texas may be more prepared for hurricanes than ever before. With Senate Bill 7 (SB 7) fully taking effect as of Jan. 1, 2020, billions from the state’s “rainy day” fund are now being reserved for flood research, control, repair, and mitigation projects.
This new Texas law is one of three disaster relief bills that Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick prioritized over the last legislative session.
With some experts predicting a bad hurricane season for 2020, the new Texas flood fund law may be just what the state needs to gear up and get ready before torrential winds and rains make landfall this year—and beyond.
A Closer Look at Texas’ New Flood Relief Funds
SB 7 creates two funds that would provide loans and grants for flood control, repair, and mitigation projects throughout Texas. Authored by Sen. Brandon Creighton (R-Conroe) and sponsored by Rep. Dade Phelan (R-Beaumont), this new law diverts $1.7 billion from the state’s “rainy day” fund to establish two new funds:
- The Flood Infrastructure Fund (FIF): This fund is dedicated to financing drainage, flood mitigation, and flood control projects. It can be administered in the form of grants or loans to all sorts of qualifying flood projects. Specifically, FIF loans and grants can be used to fund the design, planning, construction, regulatory approval of, and/or implementation of flood relief projects in Texas.
- The Texas Infrastructure Resiliency Fund (TIRF): This fund is made up of multiple accounts, including the Federal Matching Account, the Hurricane Harvey Account, and the Floodplain Management Account. While each account is designated for specific projects and/or specific communities in Texas, as part of the TIRF, they are all aimed at providing relief and additional financial support to flood repair, prevention, and control projects.
Remarking on the importance of this new Texas law, Rep. Phelan said, “This legislation is critical for creating a more resilient Texas.”