“Nobody in this room is going to be alive when this thing finally gets going” was my immediate thought.
It was at the end of a very interesting program at the community action committee, presented by Tony Williams of the Texas General Land Office and Kelly Burks-Copes, of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
They were explaining the ins and outs of the Coastal Barrier Master Plan, which is the current name for what we have been calling the Ike Dike.
They have myriad studies for what boils down to keeping the Gulf of Mexico from coming into Galveston Bay and environs during a hurricane.
We’ve seen pictures of the big gates to close off the ship channel, modeled after gates in Holland, and tall dunes to protect the land where beaches go down to meet the water.
Lots of public hearings about the plans have been held, and the speakers predicted there would be more.
Burkes-Copes is the project manager, representing the federal government aspect and the actual building plans.
Williams, in his land office job, is interested in all the natural resources, protecting the land and the animals around the bay and its estuaries.
They both confessed they had probably not done a good job of explaining some of the proposed plans, because a lot of opposition has come from residents of Bolivar Peninsula, where the residents don’t want to have their beach blocked.
Big dunes on the beach, to stop the watery invasion, will be designed to be accessible by roads across them, they said. Probably very few would have to sacrifice their houses, they added.
They had lots of charts and maps and descriptions of the feasibility studies. Lots and lots of governmental requirements.
But one of the last sentences they uttered admitted it would take 50 years before the project would begin.
That’s when I thought my unhappy thought.
I later realized my death toll prediction wasn’t completely true.
There was a teenager in the room, representing the Texas City Independent School District’s champion robot team, who will probably be around when they start building the Ike Dike.
For his sake, we have to keep pushing for that construction.
And while we’re at it, maybe we can make some changes that speed things up.
The speakers noted in addition to government funds, there would have to be a big money contribution from the private sector.
So think about this. Get the plans from the government engineers, hire a private contractor, and get all the local and ship channel industries to foot the whole bill.
They have the most to gain. They probably have enough money to handle the whole project.
So they make a truce with the state people and the feds and get the thing going sooner.
And to be sure of getting the whole thing done, they can promise to name it after Donald Trump.