Hurricane Ike struck the Texas coastline in September of 2008, the third-costliest Atlantic Hurricane, causing $37.5 billion in damages. The following year Dr. Bill Merrell, of Texas A & M at Galveston, proposed construction of a series of coastal barriers and floodgates that was dubbed the Ike Dike, suggesting the strategic role in energy production and transportation generated by southeast Texas made the issue one of national security.
Has any progress been made? “No, not really,” says Merrell. There have been studies, he tells KTRH News, and conversations and endorsements, but that’s not what it’s going to take to get the ball rolling. “They’ve talked about it, but no money has been passed,” he states.
In April sixty local and Texas state elected representatives requested a $15 billion appropriation from the Trump administration as they develop a budget for national infrastructure projects. “Land Commissioner George P. Bush has said that’s the most important infrastructure project for Texas, and he’s trying to push that in Washington D.C. with the Trump administration and their infrastructure plans,” Merrell says.
Tropical Storm Cindy, which made landfall east of Houston and Galveston, has reminded residents that hurricane season has begun, and they are as vulnerable to devastation today as they were in 2008. “You know it’ been over 8 years since Ike hit. We have the concept but we don’t really have any movement to get it done,” Merrell says wistfully.