Texas Recovers after Hurricane Harvey

September 13, 2017

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What Texas Has, What It Needs and How to Help

Estimates of the damage in Texas by Hurricane Harvey are still coming in,with some figures reaching upwards of $190 billion. To put that number inperspective, Harvey is projected to be costlier than Hurricanes Katrina (atroughly $108 billion in 2005) and Sandy (at roughly $75 billion in 2012), combined. In 2008, Hurricane Ike, the last storm to make landfallin Texas before Harvey, caused roughly $37.5 billion in damage. Texas Gov.Greg Abbott estimates the state will need between $150 billion and $180billion in federal dollars for residents and businesses to truly get backon their feet. State agencies, executive offices, and national and localnonprofit organizations have stepped up to fill the needs of Texansaffected by Harvey.

The hardest-hit areas in Texas include Rockport and Port Aransas in Aransasand Nueces counties, where Harvey made landfall, and in the more inlandcity of Victoria in Victoria County. Other areas in southeast Texasexperienced up to 50 inches of rainfall, which led to significant floodingof the region’s rivers and lakes, including in the Houston area andsurrounding counties, and the cities of Beaumont and Port Arthur, closer tothe Texas-Louisiana border. The Texas General Land Office states thatnearly one in four Texans has been impacted by Hurricane Harvey.

Gov. Abbott issued a State Disaster Declaration that includes 58 countieson and near the Texas coast: Angelina, Aransas, Atascosa, Austin, Bastrop,Bee, Bexar, Brazoria, Brazos, Burleson, Caldwell, Calhoun, Cameron,Chambers, Colorado, Comal, DeWitt, Fayette, Fort Bend, Galveston, Goliad,Gonzales, Grimes, Guadalupe, Hardin, Harris, Jackson, Jasper, Jefferson,Jim Wells, Karnes, Kerr, Kleberg, Lavaca, Lee, Leon, Liberty, Live Oak,Madison, Matagorda, Montgomery, Newton, Nueces, Orange, Polk, Refugio,Sabine, San Jacinto, San Patricio, Trinity, Tyler, Victoria, Walker,Waller, Washington, Wharton, Willacy and Wilson.


Texas Hurricane Harvey 



Abbott deployed all of the 24,000 troops in the Texas National Guard toassist with the response to Hurricane Harvey. Additionally, the TexasMilitary Department mobilized nearly 5,400 personnel in support of civilauthorities, performing search and rescue via air and ground, and aidingthe more than 32,000 people in shelters across the state. The Governor’sOffice and Texas state agencies are continuing to provide assistance toTexans in affected areas.

Office of the Governor

Governor’s Commission to Rebuild Texas

Abbott appointed John Sharp, current chancellor of the Texas A&MUniversity System, to chair the newly formed Governor’s Commission toRebuild Texas. The panel will focus on rebuilding the state’sinfrastructure and will oversee the response and relief efforts between thestate and local governments.

The following Texas state agencies will assist the panel in these efforts:

  • Department of Public Safety
  • Commission on Environmental Quality
  • Health and Human Services Commission
  • Military Department
  • Department of Transportation
  • Education Agency
  • Department of State Health Services
  • Department of Emergency Management

More information is available in the governor’sproclamation.

Special Task Force Will Examine Chemical Sites, Landfills

Amid growing environmental concerns, Abbott tasked the federalEnvironmental Protection Agency and the Texas Commission on EnvironmentalQuality (TCEQ) with monitoring chemical plants and landfills flooded duringHurricane Harvey. The two agencies will coordinate with the StateOperations Center on post-storm inspections and cleanup in all areasaffected by the storm.

Tri-Agency Workforce Partners to Design Workforce Response

Abbott directed Tri-Agency Workforce Partners — including the TexasWorkforce Commission, Texas Education Agency and Texas Higher EducationCoordinating Board — to develop an education and workforce training plan toput Texans in Harvey-affected communities back to work.

The commissioners are charged with the following tasks:

  • Work together to implement strategies to quickly put Texans back to work.
  • Work with local workforce development boards, secondary and postsecondary institutions and other stakeholders to develop and implement strategies to upskill the Texas workforce and rebuild local communities.

Governor Suspends Collection of Hotel and Motel Taxes

Abbott suspended the collection of state and local hotel and moteloccupancy taxes for Harvey victims and personnel participating in reliefoperations from Aug. 23 to Sept. 22, 2017.

Temporary Waiver of the International Fuel Tax Agreement (IFTA)

Abbott issued a temporary waiver of the IFTA, thereby suspendingrequirements that trucking firms track and pay tax on the amount of fuelused in Texas when delivering needed relief supplies and fuel into Texas.

Rebuild Texas Fund

Abbott announced creation of the Rebuild Texas Fund, a partnership betweenthe OneStar Foundation and the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation. Thefund’s goal is to raise $100 million for Harvey-affected communities. Todonate or obtain more information, visit www.rebuildtx.org, text “Rebuildtx”to 91999, or email donate@rebuildtx.org.

Texas Department of Motor Vehicles (TxDMV)

Vehicle Titling and Registration Enforcement Suspended

Texas residents in any of the 58 counties impacted by Harvey will not haveto worry about vehicle titling and registration requirements for the next45 days. Law enforcement will not issue citations for expired registrationin affected counties until Oct. 16, 2017. (See map above)

Waiting Period Suspended for Vehicle Insurance Companies to PayClaims

Abbott suspended the waiting period for insurance companies to pay claimsto vehicle owners impacted by Harvey, and is working in partnership withthe Texas Department of Motor Vehicles. The TxDMV estimates that more than500,000 vehicles were damaged by the storm. For additional information,visit http://www.txdmv.gov/harveyor call 888-368-4689.

Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT)

The Texas Department of Transportation is receiving $25 million in FederalHighway Administration funds to rehabilitate roads damaged by Harvey. Fundsare available for all 58 counties on the State Disaster Declaration.

Texas General Land Office (GLO)

The Texas General Land Office is charged with removing debris from publicbeaches located in the state’s disaster declaration areas, includingremoval and disposal of marine debris, as well as certain vessels andstructures. Current GLO contracts for debris removal work are listed here.

Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs (TDHCA)

TDHCA will provide housing and other forms of relief to Harvey victims. Theagency has $11.5 million available via a federal program to help withrental assistance for low-income families. An additional $3.5 million,moved from the state’s community services block grant program, will helpqualifying victims with housing, bedding, clothing and medicine costs, withover $1 million of that amount going to the city of Houston. Another $1million of TDHCA funds will assist residents of low-income housing withutility bills.

Office of the Attorney General (OAG)

The Texas OAG has activated its Consumer Emergency Team to respond toprice-gouging complaints. The team also monitors social media regardingthis problem. The OAG has three teams of investigators dedicated tohandling complaints. More information is available here.

Department of Public Safety (DPS)

DPS will waive the $11 fee and provide no-cost replacement driver’slicenses or ID cards for residents, provided they had current Texasdriver’s licenses or ID cards prior to the storm. Residents living inaffected counties are encouraged to bring whatever identity and residencydocumentation they have in their possession. Eligible cardholders will needto visit a driver’s license office in person to obtain the freereplacement.

Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD)

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department has waived state park entrance feesto evacuees seeking shelter from Hurricane Harvey. Anyone seeking sheltercan call the Texas State Parks Reservation line at 512-389-8900 to reservespace at available parks out of the path of the storm. TPWD recommendsevacuees relocate to sites as far north and west as possible. The publiccan check for park closures on the Texas State Parks alert map on the TPWDwebsite. TPWD said 7,759 evacuees have taken advantage of the initiative.

Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA)

Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller received authorization from thefederal government to allow schools in the areas affected by HurricaneHarvey to provide meals to students at no cost to their families for theentire month of September. Students displaced by the storm to locationselsewhere in Texas will also qualify for school meals at no cost.


FEMA Community Disaster Loan Assistance for Texas Cities

FEMA granted Abbott’s request to provide Community Disaster Loan assistancefor Texas localities impacted by Harvey. The loans help cities sufferingfrom major disasters maintain their operating budgets and function normallywhile helping their communities recover from the storm.


  • Charity Navigator is a useful tool for choosing which charity to support to aid those affected by Hurricane Harvey. The organization rates different charities in affected areas and can help users avoid charity-related scams.
  • American Red Cross .
  • Feeding Texas food banks provide food boxes, shelter meals, and cleaning supplies to families impacted by Hurricane Harvey. For major or in-kind donations, please contactharvey@feedingtexas.org .
  • Salvation Army relief efforts are updated here .
  • United Way Relief Fund was launched to help meet storm-related needs and recovery in Texas communities.
  • Save the Children helps protect vulnerable children and provide desperately needed relief to families affected by Harvey.
  • Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund was established by Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner and Harris County Judge Ed Emmett to benefit victims affected by flooding. The fund is housed at the Greater Houston Community Foundation.
  • Team Rubicon utilizes the skills and experience of military veterans to rapidly deploy emergency response teams.
  • Houston Flood Relief Fund , started by Houston Texan J.J. Watt and The Justin J. Watt Foundation, has raised over $29 million to assist Houstonians affected by Hurricane Harvey.

For more information, please contact a member of the McGuireWoodsConsulting Texas team:

Holly Deshields, Senior Vice President
Mark Miner, Senior Vice President
Jennifer Shelley Rodriguez, Vice President
Kwame Walker, Vice President
Amber Hausenfluck, Vice President
Cait Meisenheimer, Assistant Vice President
Jessica Follett, Research Associate