To protect Houston future, $32 billion flood control measure proposed

Penny wise and pound foolish. Thanks to Hurricane Harvey, Houston is paying a steep price for scrimping on flood control and almost no one disagrees.

"I think if we don't listen now, we are going to be listening later and we are going to regret it a lot. This is a critical moment for our community," said Augustus Campbell, President of the West Houston Association.

Campbell is preaching long-term disaster prevention, and he's pitching a serious plan.

"It's actually better than an insurance policy because you are actually getting something for it," said Campbell.

"Finish the Job" is the battle cry, and it's a challenge that's neither cheap nor easy.

First off, build a third reservoir while restoring the Barker and Addicks to full capacity. Second, fund a massive purchase and removal program for at least 13,000 chronically flooding homes.

"This means there are people who are out there suffering who need our help and we can help alleviate that suffering. We can get people so they can move on with their lives and we can take the land that we need to make sure we have a real, sustainable solution to flooding in our area," said Campbell.

The plan's final key component would drastically improve Buffalo Bayou and other waterways to safely contain a much heavier flow of water than they can currently handle.

"It is a $32 billion plan and 90 percent of that should be paid by the federal government which leaves 10 percent for state and local," said Campbell.

Campbell claims the cost for the average homeowner to cover the local share is right at $100 per year per household.

"For the cost of the coffee that you and I would be drinking, we could take care of flood control forever," said Campbell.

Campbell and many others want Houstonians to make that investment sooner rather than later.

They are proposing a $2.2 billion bond issue next May with the money solely dedicated to flood control.