Congress should have seen the signs that a Harvey-like event was coming
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With the caveat that it’s still early in the recovery and acknowledging the loss of life, getting the Gulf Coast out from under the damage Harvey left behind is going to be expensive. We do know recovery and rebuilding will cost tens of billions of dollars. Some estimate a price tag of a hundred billion or more. And this isn’t the only costly flood to hit the Houston area in recent years. In 2001, Tropical Storm Allison caused about $5 billion in damages. And in 2015 and 2016, two unnamed storms hit Houston and did enough property damage to make the list of the 15 highest-priced floods in U.S. history. Tangled up in all of these expensive flood events is the fact that the National Flood Insurance Program is almost $25 billion in debt. Michael Grunwald wrote a piece in Politico Magazine called “How Washington Made Harvey Worse,” about how Houston’s history and geography were big warning signs that a flood event like Harvey could happen, as described in the National Wildlife Federation’s decades-old report “Higher Ground.” Marketplace host Kai Ryssdal called him up via Skype to talk about why Congress should’ve revamped the NFIP before it got so far in the red.
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