The Daily News and Galveston Regional Chamber of Commerce would like you to oppose the only proven way to protect Galveston Island from flooding.
For the life of me, I really don’t understand why. They ask you to risk your life and property on technology from halfway around the world where geography, geology and storms are little comparison to our situation in the Gulf.
The coastal spine will be one of the most expensive U.S. government projects ever. It will rely on federal funding from an uncertain government 20 years from now.
We will end up paying to maintain everything the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers builds, including constant restoration of West End beaches in front of private homes. We know what even minor beach restoration costs thanks to our Park Boards projects. Add 18 more miles of sand.
On the other hand, the ring levee is proven technology. Successful Gulf examples abound — the Galveston seawall, and the Texas City Dike. And just look at New Orleans. Levees work, even for a city that’s below sea level.
The Corps of Engineers has concluded that the ring levee is the necessary improvement to Galveston Island, period.
Do we really want to have to survive and endure another Hurricane Ike or worse? Should we put all our eggs in the basket of the coastal spine dream that’s projected to take as long as 30 years? Or take action now?
Now is the time for Galveston to step up and take leadership.
We can accelerate the construction of the ring levee by passing a municipal bond — the local share of this cost. The balance of the funding could come from the Texas state rainy day fund. And our two powerful U.S. senators could get the rest from federal funds.
We should also back the municipal funding because, after built, our insurance rates could drop substantially, more than offsetting any additional tax cost of the municipal bond.
Ring levee benefits
• The flood protection that we needed during Hurricane Ike and need for the future.
• With pumps added, it will ameliorate the continual flooding we experience several times a year.
• It could provide sanctuary to West End residents in a hurricane. As we remember, fleeing the island during Hurricane Rita lost more lives than staying put. After all, we’re talking about safety, and not about sand renourishment.
• Aesthetically, the protective wall will be no higher than your neighbor’s backyard fence.
• Our insurance rates will be substantially lower because we’re no longer in a flood zone.
• Real estate values would then increase.
• The Corps has determined that the ring levee is cost effective, would save Galveston residents many more millions than it would cost.
Let’s all get behind the Galveston ring levee.