Three Years Post-Harvey, Cornyn Urges FEMA to Complete Still Pending Port Aransas Projects


In: All News   Posted 09/02/2020
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AUSTIN—U.S. Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) today urged Administrator Pete Gaynor of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to work with City of Port Aransas and Texas Department of Emergency Management officials to complete projects still pending three years after Hurricane Harvey hit.
 
He wrote: “Since Hurricane Harvey, the City of Port Aransas has worked tirelessly with FEMA representatives to identify damages and move recovery projects forward.  Unfortunately, the city’s public safety building and fire station remain in their post-Harvey condition, forcing first responders to operate out of temporary mobile office units unsuitable for long-term operations.  This is especially troubling for the city now that COVID-19 and the new hurricane season are a constant threat to public health and safety.”
 
You can view the signed letter here, and full text is below.
 
September 2, 2020
 
The Honorable Pete T. Gaynor 
Administrator 
Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)
500 C Street SW
Washington, DC  20024
 
Dear Administrator Gaynor,
 
On August 25, 2017, Hurricane Harvey made landfall in the Coastal Bend of Texas, where the City of Port Aransas suffered significant damage to public infrastructure. Three years later, Port Aransas continues to recover from Hurricane Harvey, and several critical projects remain pending before FEMA. 
 
Since Hurricane Harvey, the City of Port Aransas has worked tirelessly with FEMA representatives to identify damages and move recovery projects forward.  Unfortunately, the city’s public safety building and fire station remain in their post-Harvey condition, forcing first responders to operate out of temporary mobile office units unsuitable for long-term operations.  This is especially troubling for the city now that COVID-19 and the new hurricane season are a constant threat to public health and safety. 
 
Perhaps most concerning, the delays to these critical projects seem to stem from preventable complications associated with turnover among FEMA contractors. There have been multiple instances where Port Aransas has been asked to duplicate work or meet new documentation requirements, despite previous approvals.  
 
The third anniversary of Hurricane Harvey’s landfall has passed, and final decisions on the remaining projects would be welcome news to Port Aransas. The city needs your Agency’s thoughtful and expedient consideration to its submissions, appeals, and requests for funding obligation so that it can once again operate at full strength. 
 
We thank you and your staff for their continued efforts to help Texas recover from Hurricane Harvey, and we ask that FEMA continue to work with the Texas Department of Emergency Management and the City of Port Aransas to see these projects through to completion. 
 
Sincerely,
/s/