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Texas Capital Building
Sep 13, 2017

Texas Recovers after Hurricane Harvey

What Texas Has, What It Needs and How to Help

Estimates of the damage in Texas by Hurricane Harvey are still coming in, with some figures reaching upwards of $190 billion. To put that number in perspective, Harvey is projected to be costlier than Hurricanes Katrina (at roughly $108 billion in 2005) and Sandy (at roughly $75 billion in 2012), combined. In 2008, Hurricane Ike, the last storm to make landfall in Texas before Harvey, caused roughly $37.5 billion in damage. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott estimates the state will need between $150 billion and $180 billion in federal dollars for residents and businesses to truly get back on their feet. State agencies, executive offices, and national and local nonprofit organizations have stepped up to fill the needs of Texans affected by Harvey.

The hardest-hit areas in Texas include Rockport and Port Aransas in Aransas and Nueces counties, where Harvey made landfall, and in the more inland city of Victoria in Victoria County. Other areas in southeast Texas experienced up to 50 inches of rainfall, which led to significant flooding of the region’s rivers and lakes, including in the Houston area and surrounding counties, and the cities of Beaumont and Port Arthur, closer to the Texas-Louisiana border. The Texas General Land Office states that nearly one in four Texans has been impacted by Hurricane Harvey.

Gov. Abbott issued a State Disaster Declaration that includes 58 counties on and near the Texas coast: Angelina, Aransas, Atascosa, Austin, Bastrop, Bee, Bexar, Brazoria, Brazos, Burleson, Caldwell, Calhoun, Cameron, Chambers, Colorado, Comal, DeWitt, Fayette, Fort Bend, Galveston, Goliad, Gonzales, Grimes, Guadalupe, Hardin, Harris, Jackson, Jasper, Jefferson, Jim Wells, Karnes, Kerr, Kleberg, Lavaca, Lee, Leon, Liberty, Live Oak, Madison, Matagorda, Montgomery, Newton, Nueces, Orange, Polk, Refugio, Sabine, San Jacinto, San Patricio, Trinity, Tyler, Victoria, Walker, Waller, Washington, Wharton, Willacy and Wilson.

 

Texas Hurricane Harvey 

 

STATE INFORMATION & RESOURCES

Abbott deployed all of the 24,000 troops in the Texas National Guard to assist with the response to Hurricane Harvey. Additionally, the Texas Military Department mobilized nearly 5,400 personnel in support of civil authorities, performing search and rescue via air and ground, and aiding the more than 32,000 people in shelters across the state. The Governor’s Office and Texas state agencies are continuing to provide assistance to Texans in affected areas.

Office of the Governor

Governor’s Commission to Rebuild Texas

Abbott appointed John Sharp, current chancellor of the Texas A&M University System, to chair the newly formed Governor’s Commission to Rebuild Texas. The panel will focus on rebuilding the state’s infrastructure and will oversee the response and relief efforts between the state and local governments.

The following Texas state agencies will assist the panel in these efforts:

  • Department of Public Safety
  • Commission on Environmental Quality
  • Health and Human Services Commission
  • Military Department
  • Department of Transportation
  • Education Agency
  • Department of State Health Services
  • Department of Emergency Management

More information is available in the governor’s proclamation.

Special Task Force Will Examine Chemical Sites, Landfills

Amid growing environmental concerns, Abbott tasked the federal Environmental Protection Agency and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) with monitoring chemical plants and landfills flooded during Hurricane Harvey. The two agencies will coordinate with the State Operations Center on post-storm inspections and cleanup in all areas affected by the storm.

Tri-Agency Workforce Partners to Design Workforce Response

Abbott directed Tri-Agency Workforce Partners — including the Texas Workforce Commission, Texas Education Agency and Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board — to develop an education and workforce training plan to put Texans in Harvey-affected communities back to work.

The commissioners are charged with the following tasks:

  • Work together to implement strategies to quickly put Texans back to work.
  • Work with local workforce development boards, secondary and postsecondary institutions and other stakeholders to develop and implement strategies to upskill the Texas workforce and rebuild local communities.

Governor Suspends Collection of Hotel and Motel Taxes

Abbott suspended the collection of state and local hotel and motel occupancy taxes for Harvey victims and personnel participating in relief operations from Aug. 23 to Sept. 22, 2017.

Temporary Waiver of the International Fuel Tax Agreement (IFTA)

Abbott issued a temporary waiver of the IFTA, thereby suspending requirements that trucking firms track and pay tax on the amount of fuel used in Texas when delivering needed relief supplies and fuel into Texas.

Rebuild Texas Fund

Abbott announced creation of the Rebuild Texas Fund, a partnership between the OneStar Foundation and the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation. The fund’s goal is to raise $100 million for Harvey-affected communities. To donate or obtain more information, visit www.rebuildtx.org, text "Rebuildtx" to 91999, or email .

Texas Department of Motor Vehicles (TxDMV)

Vehicle Titling and Registration Enforcement Suspended

Texas residents in any of the 58 counties impacted by Harvey will not have to worry about vehicle titling and registration requirements for the next 45 days. Law enforcement will not issue citations for expired registration in affected counties until Oct. 16, 2017. (See map above)

Waiting Period Suspended for Vehicle Insurance Companies to Pay Claims

Abbott suspended the waiting period for insurance companies to pay claims to vehicle owners impacted by Harvey, and is working in partnership with the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles. The TxDMV estimates that more than 500,000 vehicles were damaged by the storm. For additional information, visit http://www.txdmv.gov/harvey or call 888-368-4689.

Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT)

The Texas Department of Transportation is receiving $25 million in Federal Highway Administration funds to rehabilitate roads damaged by Harvey. Funds are available for all 58 counties on the State Disaster Declaration.

Texas General Land Office (GLO)

The Texas General Land Office is charged with removing debris from public beaches located in the state’s disaster declaration areas, including removal and disposal of marine debris, as well as certain vessels and structures. Current GLO contracts for debris removal work are listed here.

Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs (TDHCA)

TDHCA will provide housing and other forms of relief to Harvey victims. The agency has $11.5 million available via a federal program to help with rental assistance for low-income families. An additional $3.5 million, moved from the state’s community services block grant program, will help qualifying victims with housing, bedding, clothing and medicine costs, with over $1 million of that amount going to the city of Houston. Another $1 million of TDHCA funds will assist residents of low-income housing with utility bills.

Office of the Attorney General (OAG)

The Texas OAG has activated its Consumer Emergency Team to respond to price-gouging complaints. The team also monitors social media regarding this problem. The OAG has three teams of investigators dedicated to handling complaints. More information is available here.

Department of Public Safety (DPS)

DPS will waive the $11 fee and provide no-cost replacement driver’s licenses or ID cards for residents, provided they had current Texas driver’s licenses or ID cards prior to the storm. Residents living in affected counties are encouraged to bring whatever identity and residency documentation they have in their possession. Eligible cardholders will need to visit a driver’s license office in person to obtain the free replacement.

Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD)

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department has waived state park entrance fees to evacuees seeking shelter from Hurricane Harvey. Anyone seeking shelter can call the Texas State Parks Reservation line at 512-389-8900 to reserve space at available parks out of the path of the storm. TPWD recommends evacuees relocate to sites as far north and west as possible. The public can check for park closures on the Texas State Parks alert map on the TPWD website . TPWD said 7,759 evacuees have taken advantage of the initiative.

Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA)

Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller received authorization from the federal government to allow schools in the areas affected by Hurricane Harvey to provide meals to students at no cost to their families for the entire month of September. Students displaced by the storm to locations elsewhere in Texas will also qualify for school meals at no cost.

FEDERAL INFORMATION & RESOURCES

FEMA Community Disaster Loan Assistance for Texas Cities

FEMA granted Abbott’s request to provide Community Disaster Loan assistance for Texas localities impacted by Harvey. The loans help cities suffering from major disasters maintain their operating budgets and function normally while helping their communities recover from the storm.

HOW TO HELP: DONATE

  • Charity Navigator is a useful tool for choosing which charity to support to aid those affected by Hurricane Harvey. The organization rates different charities in affected areas and can help users avoid charity-related scams.
  • American Red Cross .
  • Feeding Texas food banks provide food boxes, shelter meals, and cleaning supplies to families impacted by Hurricane Harvey. For major or in-kind donations, please contact .
  • Salvation Army relief efforts are updated here .
  • United Way Relief Fund was launched to help meet storm-related needs and recovery in Texas communities.
  • Save the Children helps protect vulnerable children and provide desperately needed relief to families affected by Harvey.
  • Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund was established by Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner and Harris County Judge Ed Emmett to benefit victims affected by flooding. The fund is housed at the Greater Houston Community Foundation.
  • Team Rubicon utilizes the skills and experience of military veterans to rapidly deploy emergency response teams.
  • Houston Flood Relief Fund , started by Houston Texan J.J. Watt and The Justin J. Watt Foundation, has raised over $29 million to assist Houstonians affected by Hurricane Harvey.


For more information, please contact a member of the McGuireWoods Consulting Texas team:

Holly Deshields , Senior Vice President
Mark Miner , Senior Vice President
Jennifer Shelley Rodriguez , Vice President
Kwame Walker , Vice President
Amber Hausenfluck , Vice President
Cait Meisenheimer , Assistant Vice President
Jessica Follett , Research Associate