Coastwide
A house was engulfed in flames as crashing waves from Hurricane Ike inundated homes on Galveston Island, Texas, in 2008. Smiley N. Pool/Rapport Press/Newscom

These disaster projects could lose cash to Trump's wall

Mexico won't pay for President Trump's border wall. But Northern Californians might. Many of them live near the American River, one of the country's most flood-prone urban watersheds.

Houston residents could shoulder the cost, too, along with Texans along the Gulf of Mexico, where the Army Corps of Engineers is working on 10 disaster projects funded by Congress in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey.

Florida might have to put beach nourishment projects on hold. And upgrades to the 60-year-old dike ringing Lake Okeechobee, which many consider to pose the state's greatest flood risk, could have to wait.

Puerto Rico, still in tatters after Hurricane Maria, could lose funding for a critical flood project in the heart of San Juan, where rapid runoff from the Rio Puerto Nuevo Basin threatens 6,500 people and homes and infrastructure valued at $3 billion.

These are among the 57 construction projects totaling $13.9 billion that the Army Corps prioritized last year. The White House appears to have identified that funding as a potential source of cash for building a border wall if Trump declares a national emergency to circumvent Congress' spending authority.

The $13.9 billion, allocated under the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 (P.L. 115-123), is intended to help victims of Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria and other natural disasters dating back to 2014.

Now that disaster aid could be seen as a potential funding stream for Trump's proposed $5.7 billion wall.

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