Many of us cannot do much during this pandemic. One thing that government entities, from counties to municipal utility districts, may be able to do now to prepare for the future (including the upcoming hurricane season) is apply for flood planning and project funds.
On March 12, the Texas Water Development Board (“TWDB”) approved rules and released its abridged application for the Flood Infrastructure Fund (the “Fund”). The Fund provides $793 million available to Texas local government entities who apply before May 14th. Texas voters approved the Fund in November 2019 (Proposition 8), which was authored by Senator Brandon Creighton and carried through the Texas House by Rep. Dade Phelan. Passed virtually unanimously by the 86th Texas Legislatures, Senate Bill 7 and the Fund provide various categories of funding assistance for structural and non-structure flood mitigation. The GLO also has many resources available, including billions of mitigation dollars. HGAC has issued a resource guide and separate funds totaling $241M.
Based on testimony of TWDB Chair Peter Lake, Texas Division of Emergency Management Nim Kidd, and Deputy Land Commissioner Mark Haven, TWDB will use the Fund applications to develop a clearing house. On February 25, in front of the Texas Senate Finance Committee, Chairman Lake explained that this would mean that TWDB will be a one-stop-shop for all sources of Texas flood mitigation planning available from other state and federal agencies. The Fund and other funding sources, such as some funds in the General Land Offices $4.3 billion State Action Plan appear open to all political subdivisions of the state. So all entities from municipalities to municipal utility districts are welcome to apply to TWDB, which will then provide applicants options. This includes funding for non-structure (i.e. green) projects.
Applicants will need to be prepared to develop plans, contracts, and data required for the long-form application and demonstrate the ability manage the project and maintain it after it is constructed. TWDB had to cancel some of its workshops due to COVID 19 but is developing a series of videos to help applicants. We will keep providing information as it becomes available.