House bill would ensure taxpayer funded infrastructure is built to withstand future flood risks

TALLAHASSEE, Fla.— In an effort to lessen the impacts of flood-related disasters and lower the cost of recovery in Florida and across the nation, U.S. Reps. David Price (D-NC-4) and Lee Zeldin (R-NY-1) have introduced the bipartisan Flood Resiliency and Taxpayer Savings Act of 2020 (H.R. 8462).

The Flood Resiliency and Taxpayer Savings Act of 2020 directs federal agencies to plan for future risks, such as those associated with severe storms and rising sea levels, when using taxpayer dollars to build, improve, or repair communities and infrastructure in flood-prone areas. This will improve public safety, cut recovery costs, and enhance a community’s ability to quickly bounce back following a disaster by ensuring the nation’s critical infrastructure and water systems are flood-ready. Current national standards do not account for the increasing flood risks—or the costly cycle of repair—that are escalating recovery costs. As a result, since 2000, the federal government has paid tens of billions of dollars to help rebuild public infrastructure after major flood disasters. Without updated flood safeguards, that figure is likely to continue to grow.

Former Director of the Florida Division of Emergency Management Wes Maul said, “Across Florida, flooding has become a daily hazard with blue sky flood events and slow-moving storm systems wreaking havoc in communities from Miami Beach to Pensacola. With every flood bringing more harm to Florida families and businesses, it is time to take action that prioritizes resilience and mitigation and fixes the out-of-control and disjointed federal spending on disaster response that has become the norm.

“In Florida, we know too well the cost of flood-related disasters. Over the past decade, Florida has had 10 flood-related Presidential Disaster Declarations, costing taxpayers billions in disaster response and recovery. Congress should seize this opportunity to pass bipartisan legislation which will better position our state and nation to protect its citizens and ensure a more accountable use of our precious tax dollars and resources.”

More than 30 national organizations including fiscal conservatives, flood risk managers, insurance businesses, architects, engineers, design professionals, public works professionals, and non-profits have come together in a letter to Congress supporting of the Flood Resiliency and Taxpayer Savings Act.

Florida-based support for this legislation includes:

1000 Friends of Florida

Federal Association for Insurance Reform

Florida Floodplain Managers Association

Florida League of Cities

Florida Rural Water Association

Florida TaxWatch

Florida Wildlife Federation

League of Women Voters of Florida

My Flood Risk

Shadybrook Village Condo Association

A summary of the Flood Resiliency and Taxpayer Savings Act of 2020 can be found here. The full text of the legislation can be found here.

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