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Rep.Zwiener, Erin

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State Representative Erin Zwiener Files Critical Infrastructure Resiliency Act 
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by: Rep. Zwiener, Erin
02/25/2021

Driftwood, TX — Today Representative Erin Zwiener (Driftwood) filed House Bill (HB) 2275 in response to the catastrophic infrastructure failures Texas experienced last week. This legislation creates a fund for weatherization, backup generation, smart metering, and other resiliency upgrades for critical infrastructure such as electric utilities, water and wastewater utilities, hospitals, and telecommunications. Rep. Zwiener has now filed 21 pieces of legislation during the 87th Legislative Session.

“Last week’s events demonstrated Texas’ unpreparedness,” said Rep. Zwiener. “Millions of Texans lost power and water, all while enduring freezing conditions. This was both a natural and man-made disaster. Our system’s failures led to the tragic deaths of at least 32 Texans. This blackout should not have happened and can never happen again and was exacerbated by outdated infrastructure. Paired with state reforms, long overdue local infrastructure improvements will ensure that basic necessities such as power, water, communications, and medical care are available to Texans in the face of extreme weather.”

HB 2275 comes in response to the serious infrastructure failures during the blackouts last week and provides grants to water and electric utilities, hospitals, and communication providers for crucial weatherization improvements. If passed and funded by the budget, these grants would draw funds from the Economic Stabilization Fund, commonly referred to as the “Rainy Day Fund,” and would be administered by the Texas Water Development Board and the Texas Division of Emergency Management.

“These investments, if made earlier, could have protected life-saving service for Texans during the blackout,” said Rep. Zwiener. “Improving infrastructure could have kept water flowing, allowed local utilities to successfully cycle electricity between different households, kept hospitals open, and ensured that Texans could access emergency information and assistance through their phones or the internet. We have an obligation to be better prepared before the next crisis.”

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