January 9, 2018
To the Honorable Mitch McConnell, the Honorable Chuck Schumer, the Honorable Paul Ryan, and the Honorable Nancy Pelosi,
Our organizations represent fiscal conservatives, architects, engineers, insurance businesses, public works professionals, and non-profit organizations. As Congress considers additional supplemental appropriations for the 2017 hurricane season, we are writing to express our support for stronger flood-ready requirements for all federally-funded projects. The devastation caused by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria underscore that, now more than ever, the country needs a pragmatic and prudent disaster risk management strategy to safeguard the nation’s infrastructure and structures, protect businesses, communities and homes, and conserve taxpayer resources to ensure we don’t pay to rebuild something twice. While our organizations represent diverse views on a number of issues, we are of one mind in that we need flood-ready infrastructure measures for federally-funded building and rebuilding to ensure our communities and infrastructure are tougher and stronger.
The pressing need for an updated approach to assessing and managing flood risk is borne out by an increasingly costly cycle of flooding and rebuilding that can and should be broken. Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria are the latest glaring examples of how vulnerable our country’s infrastructure is to flood risk, and their damages will only add to the already more than $500 billion in losses caused by flood-related disasters since 2000.
Without comprehensive federal action to reduce flood risk, disaster relief and recovery policies will allow for, and even encourage, unprepared communities to build unwisely and subsequently rely upon federal help when flood disasters hit. We simply cannot afford to allow this pattern to continue. When federal taxpayer funds are used for development and rebuilding in flood-prone areas, it should be common sense to consider and mitigate those risks upfront in order to ensure the investment will be long-lasting. Further, recent polling found that 82 percent of registered voters (Democrats: 92%, Independents: 78% Republicans: 74%) support a requirement that all federally funded infrastructure in flood-prone areas be constructed to better withstand the impacts of flooding.
A flood-ready approach for federally funded building and rebuilding of structures and infrastructure will help protect people and property, reduce federal costs associated with rebuilding after tremendous flood losses, and make communities stronger. We ask that you lead the nation in rebuilding efforts following this years’ unprecedented hurricane season by ensuring our communities and infrastructure are strong enough to withstand the next big flood.
William B. (BO) Mills, Jr., PWLF, President American Public Works Association
Thomas Santos, Vice President, Federal Affairs American Insurance Association
Sarah Dodge, Senior VP, Advocacy & Relationships American Institute of Architects
Tom Smith, Executive Director American Society of Civil Engineers
Roxanne Blackwell, Director of Federal Government Affairs, American Society of Landscape Architects
Chad Berginnis, Executive Director Association of State Floodplain Managers
Jonathan Bydlak, President Coalition to Reduce Spending
Rob Sisson, President ConservAmerica
Ken A. Crerar, President and CEO Council of Insurance Agents & Brokers
Marion Mollegan McFadden, Vice President, Policy Enterprise Community Partners
Leslie Chapman-Henderson, President and CEO Federal Alliance for Safe Homes – FLASH, Inc.
Jason Pye, Vice President, Legislative Affairs FreedomWorks
Nick Crossley, President International Association of Emergency Managers – USA
Sara C. Yerkes, Senior Vice President, Government Relations International Code Council
Julie Rochman, President and CEO Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety
Jimi Grande, Senior Vice President, Government Affairs National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies
Robert Garbini, P.E., President and CEO National Ready Mixed Concrete Association
Henry L. Green, Hon. AIA, President National Institute of Building Sciences
Pete Sepp, President National Taxpayers Union
Eli Lehrer, President R Street Institute
Franklin W. Nutter, President Reinsurance Association of America
Julie Shiyou-Woodard, President and CEO Smart Home America
Ryan Alexander, President Taxpayers for Common Sense
David Williams, President Taxpayers Protection Alliance
Maj. General Warren C. Edwards, USA (Ret.) Board Chairman The Alliance for National & Community Resilience
Lynn Scarlett, Co-Chief External Affairs Officer The Nature Conservancy
Laura Lightbody, Director The Pew Charitable Trusts
Ralph F. Boyd, Chief Executive Officer, ULI Americas The Urban Land Institute
Evan Reis, Executive Director and Co-Founder U.S. Resiliency Council
cc: Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Thad Cochran; Senate Appropriations Committee Ranking Member Patrick J. Leahy; House Appropriations Committee Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen; House Appropriations Ranking Member Nita M. Lowey