Lack of transparency clouds Texas spending after Harvey

FILE - In this Aug. 29, 2017, file photo, trucks are submerged on Pine Cliff Drive in Houston during heavy rainfall from Tropical Storm Harvey. Few American cities depend on cars as much as Houston, and Harvey's record rainfall left flooded roads and neighborhoods with cars submerged and, in most cases, impossible to salvage. (Michael Ciaglo/Houston Chronicle via AP)

Texas has been awarded billions of dollars in federal aid to help recover from Hurricane Harvey and the devastating flooding that followed. But it's unclear how the state is spending its share of the money.

State records don't indicate which contracts are storm-related. That makes tracking the funding nearly impossible.

Federal agencies, on the other hand, have public and frequently updated databases of such spending.

Disaster recovery experts say the lack of transparency in Texas could hinder coordination, encourage fraud and squander an opportunity not only to rebuild, but also to mitigate the risks of the next major storm.

Texas has received more than $11 billion in federal disaster aid since Harvey hit the state's Gulf Coast in late August. Gov. Greg Abbott has appealed for $61 billion more.

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