Thanks To Political Wrangling, Nearly $40 Million In Hurricane Ike Recovery Funds Remain Unspent

This week in Texas politics with the Texas Tribune.

By Rhonda FanningMarch 30, 2018 12:34 pm| , , ,

Time for the week that was in Texas politics with Matthew Watkins of the Texas Tribune.

Even as the Gulf Coast grapples with Hurricane Harvey recovery, a Tribune report has found that Houston hasn’t spent all of the money allocated for recovery from Hurricane Ike, a storm that hit 10 years ago. The $40 million in federal money was intended for construction of 2,000 housing units. Only about 145 have been built, Watkins says.

“Politics and things like that kind of just got in the way,” he says. Construction was often hampered by neighbors who objected to the projects.

Housing advocates don’t want affordable housing built in historically poor areas, for fear of exacerbating segregation. Wealthy residents object to low-cost units they feel would decrease property values.

Before White House Physician Ronny Jackson was named as President Trump’s nominee for VA secretary, many speculated the job would go to Energy Secretary, and former Texas Governor, Rick Perry.  Watkins says being rejected for the VA job could indicate that Perry, who has advocated for veterans’ issues throughout his career, is unlikely to be in the running for future Trump administration posts, should they become available.

Gov. Greg Abbott has been in India this week, promoting trade and other economic development projects. Watkins says Abbott announced that a steel plant in Baytown that’s owned by an Indian company, will expand, and a Plano company will add jobs, based on trade with India.

Written by Shelly Brisbin.