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Houston Region Secures $10 Million for Climate-Resilient Transportation Infrastructure Projects

Published Apr 16, 2024 by Hailea Schultz

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The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) awarded Harris County and Houston-Galveston Area Council (H-GAC) more than $10 million to support transportation infrastructure projects that aim to enhance resiliency against climate change.  

The announcement is part of the Biden-Harris Administration's broader initiative, the Promoting Resilient Operations for Transformative, Efficient and Cost-saving Transportation (PROTECT) program, established under the Infrastructure Law and Inflation Reduction Act. PROTECT will fund nearly $830 million in grants for 80 projects nationwide.  

According to DOT, Harris County will receive more than $9.6 million to develop a master plan evaluating drainage infrastructure capacity of local roadways within the county’s unincorporated areas that are experiencing rapid growth and frequent flooding. Meanwhile, H-GAC is set to receive $1.1 million to create a Resilience Improvement Plan for transportation systems across the eight-county region that are prone to severe weather, natural disasters and flooding.  

“Every community in America knows the impacts of climate change and extreme weather, including increasingly frequent heavy rain and flooding events across the country and sea-level rise that is inundating infrastructure in coastal states,” said Shailen Bhatt of the Federal Highway Administration in a statement. “This investment from the Biden-Harris Administration will ensure our infrastructure is built to withstand more frequent and unpredictable extreme weather, which is vitally important for people and businesses that rely on roads and bridges being open to keep our economy moving.”  

As a city that has experienced six federally declared flooding disasters since 2015, these projects are critical to Houston’s prosperity. To further advance public policies like PROTECT, the Greater Houston Partnership recently visited Washington, D.C., to advocate for the use of funds from the new Community Development Block Grant Mitigation (CDBG-MIT) program, which would provide billions of dollars for flood mitigation projects in the Houston region. 

Additionally, alongside federal, state and local elected officials, the Partnership has actively been working to propel the coastal barrier project, also known as Ike Dike, forward. This crucial infrastructure project, which is on the verge of being authorized by Congress, will help mitigate crippling flooding from catastrophic storm surges and save tens of billions of dollars in disaster recovery funding by protecting vulnerable communities. The barrier will also safeguard the Houston Ship Channel, which serves as an economic engine helping to power the nation.  

Learn more about the Partnership’s Public Policy Efforts.  

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