The U.S. House on Wednesday approved a massive $31 billion “Ike Dike” project to protect the Texas coast from hurricanes. However, while the bill passed with a clear majority, funding has not yet been approved.
HR 7776 passed by a vote of 384 to 37. The infrastructure project will “provide for improvements to the rivers and harbors of the United States, to provide for the conservation and development of water and related resources, and for other purposes.” The project would be a dramatic enhancement of the existing Galveston Seawall, complete with floodgates, which would protect more of Galveston, the Bolivar Peninsula, the Galveston Bay Area, and Houston. The project is primarily the suggestion of Dr. Bill Merrell of Texas A&M University at Galveston. The Ike Dike would be able to withstand ~10,000 year storms.
The Ike Dike part of the proposal is a massive concrete gate system that would span a nearly 2-mile gap from Galveston Island to Bolivar Peninsula. The gate project alone would account for at least $16 billion and require 18 years to build, according to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers estimates. Ike Dike is named after Hurricane Ike, a category two storm that hit Galveston in 2008, flooding more than 100 thousand homes and causing more than $30 million in damage.
The Texas coastal project would be the largest civil engineering project ever proposed in the U.S.. Only five Texans, all Republicans, voted against the bill: U.S. Reps. Pat Fallon, Lance Gooden, Troy Nehls, Chip Roy and Van Taylor.