Rep. Green announces likely funding for local public safety and infrastructure projects
June 19, 2008
Houston, Texas – U.S. Rep. Gene Green (D-Houston) announced preliminary approval for federal funding of Houston’s Interoperability Initiative and the East Aldine Water and Sanitary Sewer Initiative today. Green requested the funding as part of the congressional appropriations process earlier this year.
“I’m pleased that these crucial projects will be going forward,” Green said. “Public safety and basic services have to be among our top priorities.”
The House Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice and Science approved $600,000 for Houston’s Interoperability Initiative, which will pay for equipment to allow first responders to communicate effectively in an emergency. The initiative has obtained funds through several avenues, including Public Safety Interoperable Communications grants for $14.5 million that Green helped obtain last September, and will continue to seek additional funding.
The Subcommittee on Interior and Environment approved $500,000 for the East Aldine Management District’s Water and Sanitary Sewer Initiative, which will be used to provide water and sewer service to large areas of the district that currently rely on wells and private septic tanks. The funds for both projects must still be approved by the House Appropriations Committee and the House of Representatives.
Communication among Houston’s police, fire and other emergency services is hampered by aging equipment, disparate radio systems and limited funding. The Harris County regional communications system hosts most local jurisdictions, but it lacks capacity to support the Houston Police Department. As a result, the responders most likely to be called upon to support emergency service counterparts across the region are the least likely to be able to communicate upon arrival at an emergency.
In the East Aldine Management District, many families rely on private septic tanks and wells despite close proximity to the fourth-largest city in the country. The septic tanks often fail and leak raw sewage that contaminates wells used for drinking water.