Proposition 8 on this year’s general election ballot authorizes the creation of the Flood Infrastructure Fund (FIF). With only one dissenting vote, the 86th legislature passed Senate Bill 7, authored by Senator Brandon Creighton (R-Conroe) and sponsored by Representative Dade Phelan (R- Beaumont), a comprehensive bill putting the State of Texas permanently into the game of funding flood resiliency. This bold step by the legislature appropriated $2 billion dollars for a variety of flood related measures. $793 million of that appropriation will be directed to the Texas Water Development Board (TWBD) to fund future flood infrastructure projects statewide. The Houston area stands to gain over $200 million of this funding which will help supplement the $2.5 billion Harris County voters passed in 2018 and the additional $5 billion from the federal government.
Why must there be an election, you ask? When the legislature passed SB7 creating the FIF, they wanted it to be a permanent fund which could not be abolished or raided by future legislators. Thereby, the legislature passed House Joint Resolution 4 (HJR 4) in both the House and the Senate, calling for the creation of the FIF through a constitutional amendment. A constitutional amendment gives the fund its permanency. All constitutional amendments must be voted on by the Texas voters. The Fund merely acts as the mechanism or conduit to deliver the appropriated funds from the treasury to the people. As stated, the TWBD will be the oversight agency processing and awarding grants and loans to local governments around the State. Without the fund in place, there is no way for the money to get distributed from the State to the local level.
While it is necessary to have an ongoing effort of advocacy for flood resiliency in the Houston region, voting for Prop 8 feels, to some degree, like a final act in our post-Harvey efforts. We have successfully provided the Harris County Flood Control District with the necessary funding it has so sorely needed. Our local and State governments and elected representatives have been successful in lobbying congress for flood mitigation and recovery funding, and we successfully lobbied the state legislature to be a willing participant in flood resiliency. The vote for Prop 8 is the final piece-in-the-puzzle, the cherry-on-top to all the work that so many have endeavored for the last two years. Were Prop 8 to be voted down, it would be a shameful and embarrassing final act.
Help bring all this hard work over the finish line, and support flood resiliency in Texas, Harris County, and Northwest Houston, today and into the future. Vote ‘YES’ for Prop 8.