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Harris County Commissioners vote on priority guidelines for flood control projects

HOUSTON – Two years ago homes, neighborhoods and roads were devastated by Hurricane Harvey and the historic flooding that came with it. Since then, Harris County Commissioners have vowed to prioritize flood prevention measures.

On Tuesday, commissioners voted and passed a priority list guideline for future flood bond projects.

Commissioners spent hours deliberating but in a 3-2 vote, agreed to prioritize projects that will help the most people.

The $2.5 billion flood bond project includes a total of 254 projects and was initially passed on Aug. 25, 2018.

“What we're discussing today is what formula will be used to prioritize those projects and that is new.
Normally the prioritization is based on who's got a friend downtown. We aren't doing that, we are doing it in a way that's science-based that our engineers have come up with and with input from the community," said Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo.

The priority guidelines for projects are broken up into eight categories:

  • Flood risk reduction benefits
  • Existing drainage conditions
  • Social Vulnerability index
  • Project efficiency
  • Partnership funding 
  • Long-term maintenance costs
  • Environmental impacts 
  • Potential for multiple benefits

For information on how each category is prioritized, click here.

Hidalgo said the projects will be spread out throughout precincts based on need, not on a political agenda.

“We cannot do all the projects at the same time. It's physically impossible. We tried and it's not possible. So we started over 50% of them. The rest of them haven't yet been started,” Hidalgo said.