DALLAS (CBSDFW) – Nearly two months after Hurricane Harvey hit Texas, Governor Greg Abbott submitted this 300-page rebuilding plan to the White House and Congress.
He’s requesting $61 billion dollars aimed at “Future-proofing the Texas Gulf Coast” — including infrastructure projects and housing assistance in Houston and Southeast Texas.
During a conference call to reporters Wednesday morning, the Governor emphasized the plan would not only help Texas, but the rest of the nation as well. “The main return on investment will be the reduction in future costs so that they will not be paying in the future for disaster relief in areas being flooded repeatedly.”
The Governor says on November 15th, the Trump administration will submit to Congress, a supplemental budget, which will include money for Texas.
Mr. Abbott says he’ll return to Washington two days before to continue pressing his case.
He says he is doing so to prevent the Lone Star State’s request getting lost among future requests for aid from other states hit by hurricanes and fires.
While there, Vice-President Mike Pence will also headline a fundraiser for the Governor’s re-election bid.
While Governor Abbott says Texas’ plan has received wide supports from Senators John Cornyn and Ted Cruz, and members of the Texas Congressional delegation, Congress may not approve the funding this month.
Still, Abbott says he was pleased after meeting with President Trump in Dallas last week. “He was very, very positive. He talked about the projects and said listen, “It’s just a matter of making the math work. We will continue to work with him and his staff to make sure that we are going to achieve his big, bold vision for rebuilding Texas as well as our specific needs that need to be addressed.”
But the Governor says he also pressed the White House to send billions of dollars Congress already approved that remain stuck in HUD. “We made clear to both of them the need to accelerate the process of getting the already allocated $7.4 billion dollars.”
Mr. Abbott says the state has already advanced billions of dollars in disaster relief aid from the rainy day fund.
Harvey relief wasn’t the only topic of discussion during the Governor’s visit to Washington.
Governor Abbott says he met with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and White House Chief of Staff John Kelly to discuss the North American Free Trade Agreement and its importance to Texas, which has been the number one exporting state in the U.S. for 15 consecutive years.
He says he wants that to continue.