HOUSTON (CBSDFW.COM/AP) – Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed a $1.6 billion storm and flood resilience plan Thursday, nearly two years after Hurricane Harvey battered parts of the state.
Abbott signed the bill Thursday in Houston, where the Category 4 hurricane dumped more than 50 inches of rain. Harvey caused 68 deaths and an estimated $125 billion in damage.
Governor Abbott made this issue an emergency legislative item this session, resulting in several bills being passed that are aimed at better preparing the state for future disasters.
Additionally, the legislature voted to appropriate $3 billion in relief for Harvey-impacted areas from the Rainy Day Fund.
The bill signing was held at Gallery Furniture in Houston, owned by Jim “Mattress Mack” McIngvale. When Hurricane Harvey hit Houston in August 2017, McIngvale opened two of his stores as shelter for Houstonians displaced by the storm. McIngvale’s company also deployed its largest moving truck to help rescue those displaced by flooding.
“Thanks to the work of the legislature, we are rebuilding Texas stronger and more resilient than ever,” said Governor Abbott. “In the wake of Hurricane Harvey, we saw the unshakable spirit of the Lone Star State through the generosity of Texans helping their neighbors. These important pieces of legislation are a symbol of that spirit, as well as a sign of Texas’ commitment to improving the way we respond to natural disasters.”
Abbott says the storm cleanup and readiness package will mitigate damage from the next catastrophic storm. A report from Abbott’s office last year warned that powerful natural disasters will become more frequent in Texas, citing a changing climate.
Abbott has said it’s “impossible” for him to say whether manmade global warming is to blame.
Last week, President Donald Trump signed a $19.1 billion disaster relief bill that releases recovery money for Texas.
(© Copyright 2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)