The Southeast Texas Regional Planning Commission has announced a grant of $9 million to the city of Bridge City for infrastructure improvements – including drainage, road, water and sewer work.

Shawn Davis, commission director, said the staff reviewed damage assessments and broke requests / needs down into the categories of water, wastewater, public safety facilities, drainage and transportation. “Specific city and county assessments were compared with the overall assessment amounts for the entire county to obtain a percentage. Specific local entities were then allocated an amount of funds based on their community’s percentage of damage compared to the damage within their county.”

Bridge City Mayor Kirk Roccaforte, while appreciative of the money, said $9 million adds up very quickly. The city’s sewer plant generator was immersed in salt water, and equipment used to pick up debris is showing the strain and will need to be repaired or replaced.

“We’re going to have to go through all the ditches, have them cleaned out and that type of thing, A lot of trailers were moved through ditches,” he said.

“In our water and sewer systems, there were a lot of collapses due to the flood. Who knows what’s inside some of those things? Some lift stations were affected … We’ve had a lot of mechanical issues to deal with, such as bearings being affected.”

It will take time for the money to arrive, he said. 

“They just don’t give us a check for asking. We have to produce studies and show what the problems are and what we’re going to do with the money. We’re still repairing things from Rita more than three years later. Some of processes have been streamlined a bit (after Ike), because we learned a few things the first and second times. Hopefully there won’t be a third time.”

In other grant funds announced by the commission, Orange County will receive $32.2 million, Hardin County will receive $13.2 million and Jefferson County, $47.5 million. Other sources used to determine amounts were figures from FEMA, the Office of Rural Community Affairs and the Texas governor’s division of emergency management.