Stop Building Where Hurricanes Hit the Hardest . [Note: after the article was published Fugate said: “Most of the article was right, but the Headline was wrong. I never said not to build, but change how we build and removed government subsidies for new construction in coastal high risk areas.”]
Fugate acknowledged his stance can rile a crowd. People do not want to hear they are taking on incredible risk by returning home and rebuilding. Legislators will do everything they can to avoid overhauling codes and raising standards that could result in higher building costs for many.
And the federal government remains the 800-pound gorilla in the room. People live with the comfort that the U.S. government — and, thereby, American taxpayers — will sweep in and help rebuild after a devastating natural disaster, Fugate said.
“I’m not saying people shouldn’t live and develop in coastal communities, but I bet you we’d see a very different type of construction, very different standards being applied, if state and local governments didn’t have you, the taxpayer, bailing them out every time there was a disaster,” Fugate said. “They really have no incentive to change their behavior because you, as a taxpayer, are an enabler.”