WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Sunshine State is set to receive money to fix roads and fund several other projects as part of the $1 trillion federal infrastructure plan Congress just passed.
What You Need To Know
- Congress passed the $1 trillion infrastructure bill, after months of negotiating
- Florida will get a cut of the money, for things from road repairs to broadband internet
- Much of the funding will come over the span of five years
- It’s being paid for largely by unspent COVID-19 relief dollars and unemployment insurance some states haven’t halted
Called the “Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act,” Spectrum News is getting a glimpse of how it will directly fund Florida’s infrastructure needs.
A White House memo reflects some of the dollars flowing to Florida:
- $13.1 billion for federal-aid highway apportioned programs
- $245 million for bridge replacement and repairs
- $2.6 billion for public transportation option improvements
- $198 million to support electric vehicle charging
- At least $100 million for broadband internet access improvements
- $26 million to protect against wildfires
- $29 million to protect against cyberattacks
- $1.6 billion to improve water infrastructure and ensure safe drinking water
- $1.2 billion for airport improvements
Much of this funding will come over the span of five years. According to the White House, there are 408 bridges and more than 3,564 miles of highway in poor condition across Florida.
The White House goes on to say, in its infrastructure bill memo, that driver commute times in Florida have risen by 11.6% on average since 2011; also, that each driver pays $425 on average each year for car repairs due to poor roads.
It is a long list of many projects; that is why not all lawmakers were on board. Both of Florida’s U.S. Republican senators Marco Rubio and Rick Scott voted no.
Scott, a former governor of the Sunshine State, told CNN, “There’s probably something good in almost every bill that passes — that doesn’t mean you support the entire bill I don’t support the bill.
“I don’t believe this was a good use of federal money. If had been just real infrastructure and been paid for — I’d be all on,” he said.
On the opposite side, offering her support, was Rep. Val Demings (D- Florida). The congresswoman said there are too many roads in poor condition across Florida. Spectrum News spoke with her before the vote passed the plan.
“I mean, anybody who is out on the road driving with their families, I would certainly think that getting that bill passed, getting those repairs done, would be quite important,” she said.
The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) points out that drivers have been saying road repairs need to happen all along. Just recently, ASCE stated Florida’s population is growing so much that infrastructure can’t keep up; the organization graded the state with a “C” in its latest infrastructure report card.
In order to fund the hefty Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act spending pot, money will be pulled from other places, like: unspent COVID-19 relief dollars and unspent unemployment insurance some states haven’t halted.