Harvey recovery czar faces limits to 'future-proofing' Texas

AUSTIN, Texas >> The person tasked with overseeing Texas’ Hurricane Harvey rebuilding efforts sees his job as “future-proofing” earlier than the subsequent catastrophe, however he isn’t empowered on his personal to reshape flood-susceptible Houston or the state’s weak shoreline, which has been walloped by three main hurricanes since 2006.

Texas A&M Chancellor John Sharp will face the identical political and bureaucratic challenges which have lengthy stalled significant enhancements in storm protections, and a few doubt that even Harvey’s document flooding and large price ticket will result in actual change.

“It doesn’t give me very a lot confidence in any respect,” Houston resident Steve Sacks stated of the prospects that the federal government will get the restoration proper. Sacks’s house has flooded 4 occasions since 2012, and even earlier than Harvey’s floodwaters close to the rooftops in his Meyerland neighborhood, he was annoyed by delays and what he believes is the mismanagement of a authorities undertaking to raise houses within the metropolis.

“It’s all spur of the second and never thought out. It’s simply, ‘Let’s go forward and react now to make it look good,’” stated the forty six-yr-previous Sacks.

Sharp, who was appointed by Republican Gov. Greg Abbott, follows a line of repair-it males charged with choosing up the items following main storms in recent times, together with Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and Superstorm Sandy in 2012. He has gained early bipartisan reward as a sensible option to preside over the efforts to recuperate from Harvey, which killed greater than 70 individuals and broken or destroyed greater than 200,000 houses.

Sharp is the uncommon Democrat with sustained relevance in Republican-managed Texas. He’s former lawmaker and state comptroller who was U.S. Power Secretary Rick Perry’s school roommate at Texas A&M, which Sharp has led since 2011 and can proceed to steer whereas overseeing the rebuilding effort. Abbott joked that he’s now getting calls, texts and emails from Sharp “as much as and typically properly after midnight.”

Sharp hasn’t laid out an extended-time period rebuilding plan but and most of his public feedback to date have been aimed toward reassuring arduous-hit communities that he gained’t be a bureaucratic cog. However he has indicated that he’s interested by the subsequent catastrophe, saying “one of many guiding rules can be to future-proof what’s being rebuilt in order to mitigate future dangers as a lot as attainable.”

Abbott spokesman John Wittman stated Sharp…

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