With natural disasters occurring more often, Congress needs to take up the issue of disaster mitigation and flood resistance. Voters across the political spectrum support requiring all federally-funded projects located in flood-prone areas be built to better withstand future flooding. We’re talking 80-90 percent agreement that federal-funded buildings in flood-prone areas be built tough enough to withstand flooding.
With the money that could be saved, this just makes sense. For every $1 spent in strengthening buildings to withstand flooding (beyond the bare minimum), $5 to $7 is saved on average. These investments in strengthening buildings spur job growth, faster recovery following disasters, and mitigates the damage done to communities. This could lead to millions of dollars in cost savings down the line.
Now is the time to make sure Congress shores up our nation’s disaster preparedness. Congress needs to make federal standards match pace with states and localities pushing better standards. Finally, Congress needs to make sure that federal investments in flood-prone areas are built more resilient. Otherwise, thousands of federally funded assets could literally be washed away.
Maryann Manion is a real estate broker and grassroots activist from St. Louis. She has been a strong advocate for common-sense resiliency policies and recently lobbied in Washington, D.C., for real estate disclosure in regards to flooding and repeatedly flooded property reform. Maryann and her husband Lang live in Clayton.