Sep 20, 2017
Texas Recovers From Hurricane Harvey: Part 2
The federal government expects to pay out $11 billion in insurance claims
from Hurricane Harvey, making it the second-costliest storm in the history
of the National Flood Insurance Program. (Katrina in 2005 resulted in an
$18 billion payout.) With Hurricane Irma claims also to be tallied,
however, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) says it needs more
money. Currently, FEMA has just $1.5 billion in cash on hand and $5.8
billion in borrowing authority.
FEMA estimated that nearly 80,000 homes in Texas experienced at least 18
inches of flooding, while more than 23,000 endured five feet of water in
their homes. According to Gov. Greg Abbott’s office, FEMA has received more
than 735,000 individual assistance applications and has issued over $378
million in emergency funding. Additionally, the Small Business
Administration has issued $172 million in small business loans.
The Texas National Guard redeployed 48 personnel to Key West, Florida, on
Sept. 18 to assist with relief efforts after Hurricane Irma. The deployment
comes after the number of active Guardsman working on Texas’ relief efforts
dropped from more than 12,000 to approximately 2,000 over the past two
Office of the Governor
Governor’s Commission to Rebuild Texas
Abbott announced the launch of
to provide local officials with real-time information resources on
Hurricane Harvey recovery efforts, including available state and federal
resources, and updates on the rebuilding of infrastructure, including
roads, bridges, schools and government buildings. A detailed
plan for the Governor’s Commission to Rebuild Texas
, led by Texas A&M Chancellor John Sharp, includes the commission’s
purpose, mission statement, organizational structure and initial timeline.
The commission’s central office will be located at the Texas A&M
University System offices in College Station. The Texas A&M AgriLife
Extension has made contact with county officials in their service areas to
begin regular reporting to AgriLife Extension management.
The commission will be structured to include the following:
An assistance center comprised of on-site experts
knowledgeable of federal and state law, federal disaster rules, state
rules, government procurement, and large-scale construction issues will
be available to consult with local officials to assist with recovery
The commission has divided areas under the federal disaster declaration
into five regions. Each region will have a team member(s)
to focus on the area’s specific needs.
A response team will ensure a direct line of
communication is maintained with Texas’ chief operations officer.
- The team will focus on the review and distribution of any funds coming
from the U.S. Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration to
ensure rebuilding efforts are consistent across the regions and promote the
potential for strong economic growth.
The team will establish a group of industry professionals and research
experts to review all infrastructure assessments and other available data
to recommend infrastructure construction and renewal practices, including
approaches to maximize sustainability of reconstructed infrastructure in
future weather events.
Governor Extends State Disaster Declaration
Abbott added Milam and San Augustine counties to the state disaster
declaration, bringing the total number of counties under the declaration to
60. A full list of counties included in the proclamation can be found
Office of the Speaker
Texas House Speaker Joe Straus issued interim, hurricane-related charges to
three House committees: Appropriations, Public Education and Natural
House Appropriations members are charged to accomplish the following:
Examine the use of federal funds by state agencies responding to the
effects of Harvey, and identify opportunities to maximize the use of
federal funds to reduce the impact of future natural disasters.
Identify the need for state resources to respond to Hurricane Harvey
relief and recovery efforts, and opportunities for state investment in
infrastructure projects that will reduce the impact of future natural
House Public Education members will do the following:
Determine, to the extent possible, the scope of financial losses,
including facilities, as a result of Harvey; and recommend possible state
actions, such as changes to student counts or property valuation, to
mitigate any negative impact on districts and ensure governance structures
and parameters allow for effective responses.
Recommend any measures needed at the state level to prevent unintended
punitive consequences to both students and districts in the state
accountability system as a result of Harvey and its aftermath.
Examine the educational opportunities offered to students displaced by
Harvey throughout the state and the process by which districts enroll and
serve those students; and recommend any changes that could improve the
process for students or help districts serving a disproportionate number of
House Natural Resources members will examine the following issues within
the committee's jurisdiction regarding Harvey and flooding in general:
The role of regional entities in developing projects to control flooding,
through new infrastructure and enhancements to existing infrastructure
Mitigation efforts that would reduce the impact of future flood events,
and strategies to fund those efforts
The response of public entities that own or operate dams to large-scale
rain events, including how such entities make decisions regarding dam and
reservoir operations during such events, coordinate with state and local
emergency management officials, and communicate with the public
Texas Education Agency
Texas Education Commissioner Mike Morath confirmed that the roughly 250
school districts affected by Hurricane Harvey will not have to send
recapture payments to the state; however, they will have to apply for those
funds to be used for Harvey-related repairs and recovery, and pay the state
any recapture money not used for recovery. Before districts apply to retain
their recapture funds, they must first exhaust their insurance and federal
aid. The recapture program, commonly referred to a “Robin Hood,” requires
property-wealthy school districts to pay recapture payments to the state to
give to property-poor districts.
As of Friday, Sept. 15, over two weeks after Harvey made landfall, 52
schools remained closed due to catastrophic damages from the storm. Another
234 schools have significant damage and 678 have some damage.
Texas General Land Office
Abbott charged Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush with leading the
state’s short- and long-term housing recovery following Harvey.
Commissioner Bush will work with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban
Development on the distribution of $7.4 billion in Community Development
Block Grant money to fund local infrastructure repairs, along with a
“direct repair” program that will allow payments to homeowners to undertake
their own repairs. The funds were included in the federal relief package
passed in early September.
Texas Workforce Commission (TWC)
TWC received a $30 million National Dislocated Worker Grant from the U.S.
Department of Labor, to be administered by FEMA and local officials in
affected communities to provide temporary jobs for people displaced by
Hurricane Harvey to help with cleanup, recovery and relief efforts. Local
workforce development boards will determine the needs of the most heavily
impacted areas and place workers in those identified areas.
City of Houston
Mayor Sylvester Turner named former Shell Oil Co. president, Marvin Odum,
as the leader of Houston’s recovery efforts form Hurricane Harvey. Odum
will coordinate with local officials, community leaders and nonprofits on
recovery efforts, and examine what steps the city should take before future
storms hit the state’s largest city. Odum led rebuilding efforts for
Shell’s Gulf facilities following Hurricane Katrina in 2005. He is a
For more information, please contact a member of the McGuireWoods
Consulting Texas team:
, Senior Vice President
, Senior Vice President
Jennifer Shelley Rodriguez
, Vice President
, Vice President
, Vice President
, Assistant Vice President
, Research Associate