Houston, Harris Co. left out of $1 billion in flood mitigation aid

Under that aid, communities could have applied and used the funds for flood mitigation projects related to Hurricane Harvey.

Video Transcript

- --since we've been on the air. The General Land Office allocating a billion dollars to help with Harvey recovery. However, not for Harris County nor for the city of Houston.

- Surprising to say the least here. 13 Investigates' Ted Oberg joins us now to break this down. Ted?

TED OBERG: If you can't smile or laugh about this, your head might explode. It seems so nonsensical.

This is from the storm in August of 2017. The money just being awarded now to help future floods from happening. Harris County is a $1.4 billion short and they'll get nothing, nothing, zero, from this GLO money.

They are federal dollars passed down to the state. The state came up with a formula to decide who gets the money. But neither the city of Houston nor Harris County, nor the Harris County flood Control District will get even a single cent.

Baytown, Pasadena, Jacinto City and Galena Park will get a little bit of money. Galveston cities and Galveston County will get some of the largest awards. But again, the state's biggest city, the state's biggest county, those that were most damaged from Harvey, will get nothing. Apparently their applications didn't score well in the GLO formula and there were technical problems, from some of the most pronounced experts in filling out those applications, with their applications.

Harris County commissioner Adrian Garcia not happy about it.

ADRIAN GARCIA: Yet, today we're told that the smaller cities, some of the smaller cities in Harris County will get a federal allocation, but not Harris County proper and not the city of Houston. Go figure. This is political, folks.

TED OBERG: That's his point of view. Certainly, some in the city of Houston share that point of view. Keep in mind, relations between Harris County and the city of Houston and the GLO, well, they haven't always been rosy as it comes to Hurricane Harvey recovery. I asked a spokesperson at GLO this afternoon, how can this not be intentional? GLO made the formula, GLO scored the formula, and the city and county that they fought with for years didn't score well on the formula.

GLO, of course, denies there's anything intentional about zeroing out their funding for flood mitigation. They will announce all of this at some point tomorrow. Gina, act surprised, will you, when you hear the news from them.

- You know what I'm thinking, Ted. Is this going to be your last report, the series that you do today, on this issue? Because I'm sure we're not going to take this sitting down.

TED OBERG: I don't think so. I think folks in the city and the county are already talking about appealing. There is some more money that will be awarded later on this summer. But unless those formulas change, it's hard to imagine the city or the county getting anything else.

- All right. Ted, thank you.