Federal Government Mixed On Building For Resilience
In April, the US House of Representatives again passed the Disaster Recover Reform Act as part of H.R. 4, FAA Reauthorization Act. In December, the House included the reforms in a larger measure to provide funding for 2017 disaster victims. However, the Senate removed most disaster reforms during negotiations between the two chambers, and they were not included in the bill signed into law by President Trump.
Bill Co-Sponsor Representative Lou Barletta (R-PA) asks in his opinion piece in the May 3, 2018 edition of the Washington Examiner, “If we know a community has a higher risk of being hit by a disaster again, why would we rebuild in the same way that failed in the first place? Unfortunately, the way disaster recovery regulations are written, this is exactly what families and businesses end up having to do. Shouldn’t we rebuild a structure to resist high winds or elevate it out of a flood zone so that our communities are more likely to make it through a disaster unscathed, and taxpayers aren’t on the hook for the repairs?”
Studies show that pre-disaster mitigation will help the federal government save $4 to $8 on recovery for every $1 spent proactively. In 2017, 8% of the US population was affected by at least one disaster, and tens of billions of taxpayer dollars were spent on helping those people recover from the damage done by disasters, including Hurricanes Irma, Harvey and Maria, and the wildfires on the West Coast.
Follow the progress of the bill at congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/house-bill/4/
Perhaps, as an industry, we can influence decision makers to want to rebuild with masonry proven to resist disasters.