Reps. Price, Zeldin Introduce Bipartisan Flood Resiliency and Taxpayer Savings Act

September 30, 2020
Press Release

Washington, DC (September 30, 2020) Today, Representatives David E. Price (NC-04) and Lee Zeldin (NY-01) introduced the bipartisan Flood Resiliency and Taxpayer Savings Act of 2020.  Flooding is the most common and expensive natural disaster in the United States, straining the resources of governments at all levels.  Recent catastrophic flooding events underscore the need for a cost-effective disaster risk management strategy to safeguard the nation’s infrastructure, businesses and communities, as well as conserve taxpayer resources.

Representatives Price and Zeldin released the following statements upon introduction:

“Coastal and inland flooding have plagued North Carolina communities in recent years, many of which are still struggling to recover after unprecedented levels of destruction,” said Representative David Price, Chairman of the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Appropriations Subcommittee. “These major flooding events will only become more common. The Flood Resiliency and Taxpayer Savings Act modernizes the longstanding review process for federally funded projects to account for future flood risk and incorporates resiliency and mitigation measures to prevent potential damage. I thank Representative Zeldin for joining me to introduce this commonsense legislation that will help protect communities and livelihoods while preserving federal resources.”

"In a district almost completely surrounded by water, coastal resiliency and flood mitigation are critical in making sound investments in our community," said Congressman Lee Zeldin. "I'm proud to introduce this bipartisan legislation with Congressman Price, which will help ensure that federal investments and resources in our communities stand the test of time and are able to continue serving the American people who need them most."

Specifically, the bill:

  • Directs federal agencies to consider and plan for future flood risk as they evaluate spending federal dollars, including the entire lifespan of a project. 
  • Requires agency leaders, for projects that are currently or in the future will be in flood-prone areas, to use the best available data about current and future flood risk including FEMA maps, state and local data, hydrologic studies, and other information.
  • In the absence of concrete data, ensures agencies incorporate appropriate safeguards to shield communities (and federal investment) from future damage and loss—such as structure elevation, hardening, nature-based systems, or other mitigation strategies.

 

A summary of the bill can be found here. The full text of the legislation can be found here.

Quotes from organizations in support of Flood Resiliency and Taxpayer Savings Act:

“As floods continue to grow in frequency and costs, the Flood Resiliency and Taxpayer Savings Act of 2020 is vital for shoring up the strength of the nation’s infrastructure and communities. The bill would ensure that taxpayer dollars are invested in projects that take into account the flood risk from events such as sea level rise and heavier downpours—which will help Americans, and the infrastructure we depend on, better withstand the next storm.” 

Laura Lightbody, Director of The Pew Charitable Trusts’ flood-prepared communities initiative

 

“Resilience requires investments at all levels of society — homeowners, businesses, communities, states, and the federal government. Those investments in resilience need to be long lasting. The Flood Resiliency and Taxpayer Savings Act of 2020 is a critical step in that direction. When federal dollars are invested, there needs to be a reasonable assertion that the first dollars will be the last. We shouldn’t need to pay twice for the same project. “

—Roy Wright, CEO of the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety and the former lead of FEMA’s insurance and mitigation programs. 

 

"Taxpayers have been made to shell out hundreds of billions of dollars in disaster-related spending over the past decade. It is essential that flood risks be considered and mitigated whenever federal funds are used to build or rebuild infrastructure. Rising sea levels and more frequent and severe rainfall events caused by climate change make this an urgent priority to ensure taxpayers' investments are long-lasting."

R.J. Lehmann, Senior Fellow, R Street Institute

 

“Far too many federally-funded affordable homes are located in floodplains and other areas susceptible to damage from disasters. This puts America’s lowest-income and most marginalized seniors, people with disabilities, families with children, and others at greater risk of displacement and, in worst cases, homelessness when disasters strike. Congress should work quickly to protect lives and prevent displacement by enacting the Flood Resiliency and Taxpayer Savings Act of 2020 Act to ensure that federal investments in affordable housing and infrastructure can withstand future disasters.”

Diane Yentel, President and CEO of the National Low Income Housing Coalition

 

“Our current approach to managing flood risk is wrong - we use yesterday’s data to build tomorrow’s housing and infrastructure and much of that may have a useful life of 80,90 or 100+ years.  What will flood risk be like then?  The Flood Resiliency and Taxpayer Savings Act of 2020 would do much to ensure that we aren’t wasting taxpayer dollars and burdening future generations.”  

—Chad Berginnis, Executive Director, Association of State Floodplain Managers

 

"Congress owes it to taxpayers to ensure their dollars are not wasted on federally funded projects that need to be repaired and rebuilt over and over again. Federal standards should ensure projects take account of flood risk, so that appropriators do not spend good money after bad." 

—Brandon Arnold, Executive Vice President, National Taxpayers Union

Supporting Organizations:

American Institute of Architects

American Planning Association

American Property Casualty Insurance Association

American Public Works Association

American Society of Civil Engineers

American Society of Landscape Architects

Association of State Floodplain Managers

Center for American Progress

ConservAmerica

Council of Insurance Agents & Brokers

Enterprise Community Partners, Inc.

Environmental and Energy Study Institute

FreedomWorks

Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety

National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies

National Institute of Building Sciences

National Low Income Housing Coalition

National Taxpayers Union

National Wildlife Federation

Natural Resources Defense Council

R Street Institute

Reinsurance Association of America

Rise to Resilience

Smart Home America

Taxpayers for Common Sense

Taxpayer Protection Alliance

The Alliance for National and Community Resilience

The Nature Conservancy

The Pew Charitable Trusts

U.S. Resiliency Council

Union of Concerned Scientists

Waterfront Alliance