MCALLEN, Texas – U.S. Senator John Cornyn meeting with local officials to discuss ways to obtain funds for flood control projects in the Rio Grande Valley. Officials say over $500 million is needed in order to have the right drainage system in place.
U.S. Senator John Cornyn, “The Water Resources Development Act is that piece of legislation. The next time it is up for reauthorization is 2020 which is next year. My goal is to get the Raymondville Drain Project approved in that which will then free up federal funds and hopefully get that done without any further delay.”
The group toured three drainage projects in Hidalgo County. The Raymondville Drain, Delta Region Water Management Project, and the Panchitas Structure which all need additional funding to be completed.
Richard Cortez, Hidalgo County Judge, “We’re putting our own money into solving these problems but there is just not enough money locally for us to do that. We need the help of the federal government and others to do that.”
During a round table discussion, local farmers voiced their concerns to the senator about their fear of having to experience flooding again like the ones in June of 2018.
Brian Jones, local farmer, “We ended up losing quiet a bit of cotton and corn through all of that because it can’t stand that much rain and that much water standing for that amount of time.”
Hidalgo County recently approved a $190 million drainage bond for 37 projects in the Valley. However, officials say that is still not enough.
Senator Cornyn adding, “What I take away from this is, we need more resources from the federal level to deal with international issues, but also the consequences both in terms of public safety when the highways get flooded. The consequences to our farmers and ranchers who basically lose everything they’ve been working on when the drainage system doesn’t work adequately.”
Senator Cornyn’s next step is to speak to the Texas Department of Transportation. He wants to focus on making sure that drainage works properly so highways are not blocked during times of flooding.
Local officials say they hope to start working on a drainage system within the next three years.