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Infrastructure spending in Florida set for big influx of cash

County Line Road road construction
Posted at 12:20 PM, Nov 09, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-15 14:01:44-05

WASHINGTON, D.C. — After the House of Representatives approved President Biden’s more than $1 trillion infrastructure plan, the focus now turns to who will get the massive influx of money over the next few years.

Florida will no doubt be near the head of the line for federal aid as the infrastructure here is in need of repair, much like the rest of the United States.

The American Society of Civil Engineers gave Florida a C grade on its infrastructure for 2021. The report looked at 14 categories of infrastructure in Florida and graded each: aviation (C+), bridges (B), coastal areas (C-), dams (D-), drinking water (C), energy (C+), levees (D+), ports (B), roads (C+), schools (D+), solid waste (B+), stormwater (C-), transit (C) and wastewater (C).

Looking at roads, which have performed above average compared to the nation, the White House said, based on formula funding alone, “Florida would expect to receive $13.1 billion for federal-aid high apportioned programs and $245 million for bridge replacement” under the new infrastructure bill.

When it comes to public transportation, which has been lacking in Florida and much of the South for generations, the White House said based on formula funding, the state “would expect to receive $2.6 billion over five years” to improve public transportation.

And on the topic of transportation, the Biden Administration said the state would be given nearly $200 million over five years to expand electric vehicle charging in the state and could apply for $2.5 billion in grant funding for EV charging.

With the push for electric cars coming from auto manufacturers, this could be a major change in Florida for the adoption of electric vehicles.

Overall, when adding in areas like high-speed internet, climate change, cyber-attacks, extreme weather events, drinking water, and more, the White House's numbers showed the state is in line to receive at least $18 billion as part of the infrastructure bill and likely more. But the details that remain to be worked out will determine the final numbers.

Much of how the money gets spent will rest on the shoulders of Governor Ron DeSantis and the GOP-controlled legislature. The infrastructure bill was a victory for President Joe Biden and Democrats in Congress, but how far that victory will go depends largely on how the states use the money.

Governor DeSantis hasn’t addressed the bill directly while it spent months being negotiated in Congress. The bill received bipartisan support in Congress and Republican governors in other states have praised the passage of the bill.

Still, every Republican Florida Congressperson and Senator voted in opposition to the bill. The bill was able to survive through several Republican members crossing party lines to help push the bill across the finish line.

With the bill now set to be signed by President Biden, the attention will turn to lobbying for projects by the states and the releasing of money to the states. Supporters said the bill will bring jobs across the country and help shore up the nation for the next century. Opponents said it will increase inflation that is already rising in the nation.