Washington, DC– U.S. Representatives Charlie Crist (D-FL) and Roger Williams (R-TX) released the following statement on inclusion of their bill, the State Flood Mitigation Revolving Fund Act of 2019 (H.R.1610), in the comprehensive flood insurance reauthorization and reform package approved by the House Financial Services Committee on Wednesday. The bill which reauthorizes the National Flood Insurance Program for five years, addresses affordability challenges, and makes reforms to floodplain mapping and mitigation, advanced through the full committee by a vote of 59-0.
“Flood insurance is too expensive,” said Rep. Crist. “And homeowners lack options to better protect their properties from flooding. It’s high-time that Congress took an all-of-the-above approach to address these challenges, including helping folks better protect their properties from flood damage before it happens, thereby lowering risk and driving down premiums. I thank Chairwoman Waters and members of the committee for their bipartisan support of this game-changing bill, and I look forward to its consideration on the House floor.”
“The current state of the national flood insurance program is failing families, communities and taxpayers.Homeowners need more options to avoid high premiums and the daunting prospects of rebuilding in a flood zone,” said Rep. Williams. “My provision in this larger bill will allow people to proactively mitigate before disaster occurs and invest in solutions as opposed to repetitive losses. I applaud the efforts of my colleagues on the Financial Services Committee to put forth stronger safeguards that will mitigate potential damage and save billions of tax-payers dollars.”
“Research shows that the demand for flood mitigation has outpaced available funding. That leaves states and communities without adequate resources to reduce flood impacts on their neighborhoods, infrastructure, and economies,” said Laura Lightbody, Project Director for Pew Charitable Trust's Flood Prepared Communities Initiative. “The State Flood Mitigation Revolving Fund Act provides a much-needed tool to help localities prepare for flooding and minimize rebuilding costs afterward. It will make them better able to cope with our country's costliest natural disaster.”
State Flood Mitigation Revolving Fund Act Background:
Flooding is the costliest and most common natural disaster in the U.S., claiming lives, damaging households and businesses, and straining government agencies that provide flood response and relief. According to a 2018 report by the National Institute of Building Sciences, for every dollar spent on hazard mitigation, the nation saves $6 in post-disaster costs. The benefits come largely from avoided property damage, casualties associated with storms, and savings when businesses and communities can quickly return to normal following a flood event.
Modeled after the successful Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Loan Funds, the State Flood Mitigation Revolving Fund Act establishes a state revolving loan program to help fund flood mitigation projects for homeowners, businesses, nonprofits, and communities. Introduced by Reps. Crist and Williams, the program would allow states to offer low-interest loans to NFIP participants for flood mitigation projects to better protect their properties, reducing post-disaster claims. For those participating in the program, FEMA would offer NFIP premium reductions in line with mitigation efforts taken.
The State Flood Mitigation Revolving Fund Act of 2019 has the support of over 200 community resiliency, environmental protection, and municipal organizations from states across the country, including Florida and Texas. The bill also has the support of over 30 national organizations dedicated to achieving affordable flood insurance and the resiliency of our nation's communities.