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Trump signs bill for coastal protection

U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, suggested Wednesday that national lawmakers are keeping a protective eye over the Texas coastline, shielding it from ill effects of turbulent weather that will surely visit again.

The senator, who helped secure almost $4 billion in federal money to bolster coastal Texas protections, much of them in Jefferson and Orange counties, issued a statement after President Trump signed into law Tuesday evening the Bipartisan Water Infrastructure Bill.

The bill includes a provision by Cornyn to authorize the Sabine Pass to Galveston Bay Project, which includes augmenting or building levees and other protections in six coastal counties. Much of the money will go to projects along the Sabine Neches Waterway, including up the Neches River toward Port Neches.

“As we continue to rebuild from Hurricane Harvey’s devastation, we must keep one eye toward the future and the reality that more storms will come,” Cornyn said in an issued statement Wednesday. “Authorizing this project is a proactive step to better protect coastal Texas communities from future weather events, and I thank the Trump administration for making it a priority.”

Cornyn’s office said the authorization provision marked the last congressional action prior to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and other, local governments breaking ground on this project’s pieces.

A Cornyn spokeswoman said there is no mandated timeline on the project.

County Judge Jeff Branick has said some $800 million of the $3.9 billion appropriation will be spent in Jefferson County. That includes money for flood mitigation projects near the Total plant on Highway 73. Branick said recently it may take up to a year to procure contracts for the work.

Authorization for the Sabine Pass to Galveston Bay Project was OK’d under the America’s Water Infrastructure Act.

Cornyn was campaigning with fellow U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, on Wednesday.