What can the state of Florida expect from the massive $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill that President Joe Biden recently signed? There was a lot in the bill Congress finally passed, and Florida will get billions of dollars for infrastructure investments. While the legislation had Republican support in the Senate and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi needed Republicans in the House to pass the bill, the infrastructure bill did not receive support from any Republican member of Congress from Florida.
In Florida, the American Society of Civil Engineers gave Florida a C grade on its infrastructure report card, so the funding is both welcome and necessary. Overall, this legislation includes around $550 billion in new federal investment in America’s roads and bridges, water infrastructure, resilience, internet, and more.
Here’s a breakdown of what Florida can expect from the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act:
- In Florida there are 408 bridges and over 3,564 miles of highway in poor condition. Since 2011, commute times have increased by 11.6% in Florida and on average, each driver pays $425 per year in costs due to driving on roads in need of repair. Florida will receive more than $13.1 billion for federal-aid highway apportioned programs and $245 million for bridge replacement and repairs over five years. Overall, the bill makes the single largest dedicated bridge investment since the construction of the interstate highway system.
- The legislation makes the largest federal investment in public transit ever. Floridians who take public transportation spend an extra 77.9% of their time commuting and non-White households are 3.5 times more likely to commute via public transportation. Based on formula funding alone, Florida would expect to receive $2.6 billion over five years.
- The bill also sets funding to improve our nation’s airports. Florida would receive approximately $1.2 billion for infrastructure development for airports over five years.
- Florida can also expect to receive $1.6 billion over five years to improve water infrastructure across the state. Currently, up to 10 million American households and 400,000 schools and child care centers lack safe drinking water and this will be the largest investment in clean drinking water and waste water infrastructure in American history.
- The legislation will help ensure every Floridian has access to reliable high-speed internet, as approximately 13% of Florida households do not have an internet subscription. Florida will receive a minimum allocation of $100 million for broadband coverage, including providing access to the at least 707,000 Floridians who currently lack it. 30% of people in Florida will be eligible for the Affordability Connectivity Benefit to lower the cost of their internet service.
- Florida would expect to receive $198 million over five years to support the expansion of an EV charging network in the state. Florida will also have the opportunity to apply for the $2.5 billion in grant funding dedicated to EV charging. Nationally, it will address the climate crisis by making the largest investment in clean energy transmission and EV infrastructure in history; electrifying thousands of school and transit buses across the country; and creating a new Grid Deployment Authority to build a resilient, clean, 21st century electric grid.
- From 2010 to 2020, Florida experienced 22 extreme weather events, costing the state up to $100 billion in damages. Florida will receive $26 million over five years to protect against natural disasters and $29 million to protect against cyberattacks. In addition, $3.5 billion will be available nationally for weatherization which will protect homes and reduce energy costs for families.
- Makes a national investment in passenger rail – the largest federal investment in passenger rail since the creation of Amtrak. This may or may not make an impact on Florida.
- Investments in U.S. supply chain infrastructure, including $17 billion for U.S. ports, although the exact amount for Florida ports is still unknown.
Democrats say they delivered big for voters. Overall, Congress approved spending: $110 billion for roads, bridges and other infrastructure fix-ups. Of that, $40 billion is new funding for bridge repair, replacement and rehab. Another $73 billion for electric grid and power structures. A total of $186 billion for rail, broadband, and water infrastructure. $21 billion for environmental remediation, most of which will go to urban neighborhoods where the majority of citizens are of color. There is $47 billion for flooding and coastal resiliency, as well as “climate resiliency,” including protections against fires. And the $39 billion to modernize transit will be the largest federal investment in public transit in history, according to the White House.
Central Florida projects that will likely receive funding from the legislation will come from proposals made by U.S. Representatives Val Demings, Darren Soto and Stephanie Murphy. Congresswoman Demings is also running against Senator Marco Rubio and the infrastructure investments are sure to be a focus of the campaign. Senator Rubio joined Senator Rick Scott in opposing the bipartisan bill. Rubio claimed he is “for infrastructure” but voted against the infrastructure investments to stop the “Build Back ‘socialist’ bill,” even though they are separate pieces of legislation.
“When we invest in middle class America, when we invest in people who have to go to work every day, America does better,” said Rep. Demings. “Our communities need this funding now. Democratic and Republican mayors who are clear-eyed know that investing in our supply chain infrastructure can’t wait, jobs can’t wait, repairs can’t wait, fighting climate change can’t wait, and protecting our health and safety can’t wait.”
“Very sad that the RINOs in the House and Senate gave Biden and Democrats a victory on the ‘Non-Infrastructure’ Bill, where only 11% of the money being wasted goes to real infrastructure,” former President Donald Trump said. “How about all of those Republican Senators that voted thinking that helping the Democrats is such a wonderful thing to do, so politically correct. They just don’t get it!”
“Our plans will create millions of jobs in new and future industries, restore our global competitiveness, rebuild Florida’s crumbing roads and bridges, expand broadband and reduce the cost of internet across our state, keep our children safe from unclean water, protect our air and climate, and support U.S. manufacturing,” Rep Demings added.