Judge Ed Emmett Talks Hurricane Harvey Recovery

It’s been four months since Hurricane Harvey changed the landscape of Southeast Texas, and recovery is proving slower and more expensive than anyone hoped.

Harris County Judge Ed Emmett tells KTRH News he met with local congressmen Representatives Mike McCaul and John Culberson last week about how the federal government can help, and where the money needs to go.

“I hope a lot of the money goes to buyouts,” he says.  There is still a lot of work to be done to determine who qualifies and for how much.

Among the laundry list of needs, Judge Emmett says we need better watershed maps.  Obviously the concept of 100 and 500 year floods, and where they are likely to happen, needs to be reconsidered following the Tax Day, Memorial Day and Harvey floods and FEMA’s flood maps.

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner has his own slate of needs, but one they share is the dire situation with the damage to the Courthouse and jury pool rooms.  Repairs are going to take time. “We’re probably still a year away, and that’s just the Courthouse itself.  The Jury Assembly room will probably be even longer,” says Emmett.

There will be federal money to help bring the Addicks and Barker reservoirs back to standard, but Judge Emmett says he hopes the state will pay for a potential third reservoir.  “The state is sitting on ten billion dollars in the Rainy Day Fund,” he says.  He says the state should front the money and then have the money paid back by the federal government.

Texas leaders have said the repair bill will be around $121 billion.  So far, the federal government has paid $5 billion.

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