BPC Action Applauds Bipartisan Disaster Resilience Legislation in Infrastructure

BPC Action commends House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chair Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR) and Ranking Member Rep. Sam Graves (R-MO), as well as Reps. Dina Titus (D-NV) and Daniel Webster (R-FL), for working across party lines to introduce the Resilient AMERICA Act. The legislation would enhance FEMA’s disaster mitigation and resilience programs, helping communities prepare for and respond to future disasters. 

In recent years, natural disasters—including floods, storms, and wildfires—have increased in severity and frequency across the nation and will only become even more costly and catastrophic as the climate changes. Strategic investments in resilient infrastructure and hazard mitigation save lives, dramatically reduce the devastation caused by disasters, reduce the costs of disaster recovery efforts, and help affected communities recover more quickly. Resilient infrastructure also strengthens regional economies: for example, research shows that every $1 billion spent on flood resilient infrastructure can create 40,000 jobs. 

Specifically, the bill would more than double funding for FEMA’s Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities program, which provides communities with resources to plan and implement hazard mitigation projects. It would also expand BRIC eligibility to private non-profits. To increase the ability of homes to withstand disasters, the legislation would fund resources and incentives for communities to retrofit homes and adopt modern building and construction codes. The bill would also expand the scope of the post-disaster Hazard Mitigation Grant Program to prevent utility outages during disasters, and direct unspent HMGP funds to future disaster relief efforts. 

The Resilient AMERICA Act aligns with the priorities of BPC Action and many of our Adaptation Working Group partners, making ambitious investments in resilient infrastructure, especially through BRIC. This bill would be a major step towards preparing our nation for the consequences of climate change and reducing future harm to the safety, health, and economic vitality of communities nationwide. We look forward to working with members of both parties to see this critical piece of legislation enacted into law.