The Governor of Texas, Greg Abbott, has said that it will take the state years to rebuild what has been destroyed by Hurricane Harvey. He has stated that the destruction caused by the hurricane is far greater than what was caused by hurricane Sandy and it is better compared with Hurricane Katrina. However, it looks as if the funding to get the state back on its feet will not suffice if it matches what was approved during the Hurricanes Sandy and Katrina times, though.
$7 billion requested for initial response
In the aftermath of the hurricane, the President has requested slightly over $7 billion to help Texas respond immediately to the destruction. However, this is only being viewed as the first installment of what the recovery efforts are likely to cost. Governor Abbot has indicated that the actual funds that may be required may be far more than this. It is not just coastal Texas that bore the brunt of the hurricane. Louisiana has also suffered massive damage and Governor Abbott has said that the funds given for recovery from Hurricane Katrina, one of the most destructive storms ever seen, may still not cover the recovery efforts for the destruction that Harvey has caused.
Reconstruction may cost $180 billion
The Texas governor has given a clearer picture of what the bill for reconstruction may look like. He has said that the state may need the infusion of some $180 billion to help it get back on its feet. Katrina had caused some $120 billion worth of damage but Harvey has impacted businesses and homes quite drastically ad thus the cost of setting things up the way they were before the storm is likely to be much higher this time around.
The debt ceiling conundrum
Accessing funds to this extent from the federal government is not an easy task. This is especially true given the fact that the debt ceiling will need to be enhanced if the government is to make funds available to Texas for its recovery efforts. This is a big challenge as of now. Meanwhile, the FEMA has also pointed out that states must have their own means of meeting their cash requirements in such circumstances. FEMA head Brock Long has pointed out the current state of Texas as an example of why state's should not depend entirely on the centre for aid during times of distress.