The Supporting Mitigation Activities and Resiliency Targets for Rebuilding Act, also known as the SMART Rebuilding Act, is aimed at lowering the cost of natural disasters by helping states and communities plan ahead and rebuild smarter. The legislation was introduced recently by 10th Congressional District representative Jeff Denham of Turlock.
“Every year, the federal government spends billions of dollars rebuilding the same structures in the same places with little consideration of the next storm,” said Rep. Denham. “It’s time to take action to save lives and taxpayer money by thinking ahead when we build our communities, instead of typical reactionary government policies.”
“This legislation will improve preparation for the next natural disaster by incentivizing states to better prepare and helping states replace disaster damaged structures with more resilient ones. This will ultimately save federal dollars,” said Rep. Michael Capuano (D-Mass.), original co-sponsor of the bill.
The SMART Rebuilding Act incentivizes and enables states and communities to build stronger both before and after disaster strikes by increasing the federal cost share for communities that adopt mitigation measures, establishing a National Public Infrastructure Pre-disaster Mitigation Fund to allow states and communities the ability to improve infrastructure, and including building standard implementation and enforcement in the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Public Assistance post disaster program.
“As Americans across the nation work to recover from an unprecedented series of natural catastrophes, now is more important than ever to ensure our communities are prepared ahead of the next storm. We applaud Congressman Denham’s leadership in introducing the SMART Rebuilding Act, which takes bold steps to protect homes, save lives and make smarter use of our taxpayer dollars in the face of a rising number of severe disasters,” said Jimi Grande, senior vice president of the National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies.
“The U.S. has already spent more than $50 billion on disaster recovery in recent months, and we will spend over $200 billion more on this year’s storms. Congressman Denham’s legislation will ensure that these funds are an investment in a stronger future that will save lives, property and taxpayer dollars and not continue spending on the same broken system that left America vulnerable in the first place,” said Phil Anderson, executive director of the BuildStrong Coalition.
According to FEMA, every $1 invested in mitigation results in $4 in disaster cost savings for taxpayers. This year alone, the U.S. has seen mass destruction from large-scale wildfires to hurricane winds and flooding, costing the American taxpayers hundreds of billions of dollars in disaster relief. This bill would save lives and money by mitigating natural disaster impacts across the nation.