By Chris Edwards
AUSTIN – On Friday, the state’s General Land Office (GLO) approved $68 million in funds for the region toward mitigation projects.
The state’s land commissioner Dawn Buckingham said that the GLO’s funding announcement works toward empowering communities to “move forward projects that will protect the homes and business of those who live here.”
The $68,042,000 funding package covers six different federally eligible infrastructure projects, including more than $42 million for broadband and radio communications infrastructure, which will be administered by the Deep East Texas Council of Governments (DETCOG), according to Buckingham.
Tyler County will benefit from the broadband and radio funding, along with Polk; Jasper; Newton and San Jacinto counties.
DETCOG executive director Lonnie Hunt called the funding announcement “a great day for Deep East Texas.”
“Broadband is a basic building block of the future and the lack of it negatively impacts every aspect of our life…from public safety to economic development and job creation to education and healthcare,” Hunt said.
The $42 million funding package will also address current and future risks of communication outages caused by flooding, storms and other severe weather events.
Other projects the funding package earmarks includes street improvements in Ivanhoe and Woodville.
Ivanhoe is receiving $1.9 million, which will go toward flood mitigation by improving surfaces on Lakewood Drive and improve water flow away from homes.
Woodville will get $3,325,000 of the funds, which will see streets improved to create safe, all-weather thoroughfares, which are essential during disasters and evacuations.
The streets in Woodville slated for the project include the Beech/Dogwood area; Carlow Hill and Timberland.
“Locally led prioritization of mitigation projects is important because it strengthens critical infrastructure and protects communities against the impacts of natural disasters,” Buckingham said. “I am proud of the work being done at the [GLO] to not only help those in need, but to support our communities as they grow.”
In all, the GLO allocated more than $1.1 billion in Community Development Block Grant Mitigation funds from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for the Regional Mitigation Program to reduce the risks and impacts of future natural disasters.
Each regional council of government with HUD-designated eligible counties developed a method of distribution for allocation of funds to local governments, according to Buckingham.