Texas Flood Infrastructure Fund
In 2019, the State of Texas established the Texas Flood Infrastructure Fund (TFIF), which provides financial support to communities for drainage, flood mitigation, and flood control projects. Administered by the Texas Water Development Board (TWDB), the TFIF fund provides financial assistance to political subdivisions (cities, counties, or state-established districts or authorities) in the form of grants and zero-interest loans. The funding can be used to support planning, design, construction, and rehabilitation of flood projects, whether structural or non-structural (including nature-based).
Activities eligible for grant or loan funding are divided into four categories:
- Flood Protection Planning for Watersheds
- Planning, Acquisition, Design, Construction, Rehabilitation
- Federal Award Matching Funds
- Measures Immediately Effective in Protecting Life and Property
Planning activities may include preliminary engineering and project design, feasibility assessments, activities to obtain regulatory approvals, hydrologic studies, and other activities. The TFIF can fund a wide range of construction and rehabilitation phase activities, including property acquisitions, natural system restoration, permeable pavements, and many more components of structural or nonstructural flood mitigation and protection.
A community’s eligibility for receiving grants versus loans (and the relative share of grants versus loans) depends on the project category (as outlined above) and socioeconomic factors of the community. For example, communities with an annual median household income (AMHI) of less than 50% of the statewide AMHI that have been affected by a federally declared flood disaster in the last 5 years can receive 100% grant funding for flood protection planning. As AMHI increases in the affected area, the share of funding that may come in the form of grants is reduced, relative to the share that comes from zero interest loans. The share that can be provided by grants can be slightly increased if communities have relatively high unemployment, declining population, are rural, or if at least 30% of project costs are considered “Green or Nature Based.”
Other minimum requirements apply for communities to receive TFIF funds. For example, applicants must demonstrate that benefits of a proposed project exceed its costs. Additionally, the project area must have floodplain ordinances or orders in place and the community must be enforcing, at a minimum, floodplain management standards consistent with the National Flood Insurance Program.
The TFIF was initially authorized by Senate Bill 7 of the Texas 86th legislative session (2019), which was signed by the governor in June 2019. It was subsequently approved by voters in November 2019 through Proposition 8, which amended the state’s constitution to create the fund and authorize the TWCB to administer money from the TFIF without further appropriations. The TFIF was initially infused with $793 million.
Publication Date: November 2019
- Texas Water Development Board
- Funding program