Federal Funding, Advocacy & Flood Resiliency for the Greater West Houston Region

On April 12th, the West Houston Association hosted our Federal Issues Luncheon featuring Congresswoman Lizzie Fletcher of Texas’ 7th Congressional District. Congressional District 7 spans across a large portion of the Greater West Houston region overlapping parts of both Harris and Fort Bend Counties. WHA Board Member Alia Vinson (Allen Boone Humphries Robinson, LLP) moderated the discussion which centered around the critical issues of flood resiliency, infrastructure, and the expansive growth across the greater West Houston region. 

The Congresswoman began by introducing herself and sharing a few of her goals as a member of Congress. A resident of Houston and Congressional District 7 nearly her whole life, she offered her sentiments on the region naming it “a great place to build a business or start a family” and saying, “if you can dream it, you can achieve it.”

Pivoting to flood resilience and continued investment in flood infrastructure, Congresswoman Fletcher emphasized the importance of “comprehensive planning” and partnering with both Harris County Flood Control District and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. In particular, she mentioned that every year USACE only gets about $2-4 billion – highlighting the need to advocate for additional funding specifically for projects that manage flood risk in our region.  

The Congresswoman also mentioned the significance of the Reinvesting in Shoreline Economies and Ecosystems, also known as the RISEE Act. This bipartisan legislation would help protect vulnerable Texas coastline and its communities against flooding and natural disasters by ensuring there is funding for coastal infrastructure and flood resiliency projects. Ultimately, the RISEE Act provides these infrastructure resilience funds by sharing federal offshore wind revenue with nearby states.  

The discussion further focused on two recent pieces of legislation: the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) and the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA). The IIJA included approximately $1.2 trillion (or about $3,700 per person in the U.S.) in spending, and the Congresswoman discussed how there was money going to airports in the region as well as METRO. One project, known as the Westheimer BOOST corridor, received $5 million in federal grants based on Representative Fletcher’s recommendation and intends to improve connectivity and mobility within parts of WHA’s footprint. One of the features of the IRA includes investment into domestic energy production as well as clean energy like electric vehicles and the need for charging infrastructure. In the 118th Congress, Rep. Fletcher is a member of the House Committee on Energy & Commerce where she serves on the subcommittees on Energy, Climate, & Grid Security and Communications & Technology.

When asked how we can best collaborate with her to ensure the Greater West Houston region continues to provide great experiences and opportunities, she articulated the need to continue bringing people together for open dialogue and communication. WHA looks forward to continuing our long history of partnering with public and elected officials to find sustainable solutions on shared concerns because we believe everyone should find great experiences and opportunities in the Greater West Houston region because it is resilient, well-planned, and well-maintained. The West Houston Association would like to give a very special thank you to Congresswoman Lizzie Fletcher for taking the time to speak with our members. We would also like to thank our moderator, Alia Vinson, as well as our sponsors who make events like this possible!

For a list of our upcoming events, please visit https://www.westhouston.org/events-meetings/