Federal study lays groundwork for Texas coastal barrier

A $6 billion storm-surge barrier gate is just one component of a system of measures to shore up the entire Texas coast against hurricanes the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is recommending in a preliminary study released in October—the latest chapter in the region’s decadelong pursuit of an “Ike Dike.”

“It’s going to happen; there’s never been any doubt here about that,” said Bob Mitchell, president of the Bay Area Houston Economic Partnership. “But our biggest fear is that another hurricane is going to hit, and it’s going to cost lives and cost the industry, and it’ll be too late.”

The draft plan is open to public comment until Jan. 9 and has already drawn comments from stakeholders and environmental groups, who question the plan’s ecosystem effects.

In 2021 the study is expected to go before federal lawmakers, who will need to commit to as much as $31.8 billion to implement it over the next several decades.

Despite the price tag Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush, whose office funded the study, said he is optimistic the political climate is in the its favor.

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