Outgoing Houston mayor backs increasing drainage team budget to $40M but calls on Harris Co. to help

Mayra Moreno Image
Tuesday, May 23, 2023
Harvey survivors demand city's attention to drainage issues
Residents in northeast Houston are demanding more money and attention to address drainage system issues in Black and brown communities.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Northeast Houston neighbors, the Northeast Action Collective, and several organizations stood on the steps of city hall Tuesday to protest what they say is the lack of concern for their infrastructure crisis.

The video above is from a previous report.

This is something they have been fighting for over the years since Hurricane Harvey.

The NAC has been protesting for better drainage systems on the northeast side, demanding the city to change how it funds drainage and maintenance problems in low-income Black and brown communities.

SEE ALSO: 5 years after Harvey: Exploring the racial inequities in disaster relief distribution

The group has done this before under their main "divert floods not funds" messaging. It has been fighting for multiple years to fix local drainage systems that, it says, have been deteriorating.

Minor floods cause big issues and headaches, residents said.

"With two weeks left for city budget vote, we need city councilors to step up. We are working with council members to propose amendments that will fund drainage projects that can be carried out this year, as well as build capacity in the Department of Public Works for the long term to keep infrastructure function maintained," NAC's Courtney Rebels said.

NAC is demanding equal protection from flooding, among other needs, asking to permanently increase annual funding for "Storm Water Action Team" programs from $20 million to $40 million to increase public works staff and machinery in hopes of getting scheduled ditch maintenance and rehabilitation.

Mayor Sylvester Turner said he wants to increase SWAT program funding but asks Harris County to partner with the city on that effort.

Meanwhile, Houston Public Works said it has been working with the group to prioritize areas with drainage challenges, with several projects set to begin construction in the upcoming months and in spring 2024.

To learn more about the current drainage improvements projects, visit Engage Houston's portal for the Northeast Community Drainage updates.

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