AUSTIN — Hurricane disaster recovery in Texas will be put on the fast track as the Texas General Land Office expands its rebuilding role following Dolly and Ike.
The Land Office is now the lead state agency managing disaster recovery grants through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Gov. Rick Perry informed federal officials the change - effective July 1 - would bring more accountability to the state's multi-billion dollar hurricane disaster recovery efforts.
The Land Office already has an extensive background in disaster recovery. After hurricanes Dolly and Ike, the agency successfully coordinated the cleanup of the Texas coast. The Land Office's management of the additional disaster recovery grants will provide local communities a single contact, cut bureaucratic red tape and reduce administrative costs.
Disaster recovery efforts from Dolly and Ike affect more than 11 million Texans - or about 45 percent - in 62 counties. The Land Office will continue to contract with HNTB for program management. The San Antonio-based, employee-owned engineering, architecture and planning firm has played a crucial role in the state's success in recovering from Dolly and Ike.
Transition to Land Office management of the state's post-hurricane disaster recovery grant programs has been smooth.
In July, the Land Office will award more than $197 million worth of disaster recovery grants for Round 2, Phase 1 of the ongoing program. Previous awards from this program have gone to rebuild the main wastewater treatment plant in Galveston, three bridges in Jefferson County, a community emergency shelter in Nacogdoches County, a new fire station in Orange, and backup generators for La Feria and Midway among other things.
The Land Office will work to quicken the pace of rebuilding and repairing damaged homes. When completed the disaster recovery program will repair or replace more than 10,000 single-family homes or rental homes.