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Monday, November 22, 2021
What Will Infrastructure Bill Do for Florida?
By Kerry Smith
The new law is controversial, but one element – a big investment in broadband for rural areas – could open up areas of Florida to buyers who no longer commute to work.
WASHINGTON – On Monday, Nov. 15, President Biden signed the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law in law, a $1.2 trillion infrastructure spending package approved by a bipartisan group of lawmakers in Congress.
Transportation historically leads development, and South Florida’s growth can be traced to Henry Flagler’s new railroad. While money slated for road repair will theoretically ease commutes and repair roadways, the law’s commitment to expanded broadband technology may subtly change Florida’s housing market by boosting demand for rural areas and small towns that don’t currently have strong internet access.
According to a release from Florida Rep. Charlie Crist, $100 million from an approved $65 billion will go to Florida. He estimates that will help 700,000 Floridians gain high-speed broadband access.
According to Crist, Florida money from the infrastructure bill will include:
Nearly $16 billion in state formula funds for highways, bridges, and transit, including:
$13.1 billion for highways
$245 million for bridge replacement and repairs
$2.6 billion for public transit
$1.2 billion for airports
$1.6 billion in state revolving formula funds to improve water infrastructure
$26 million to protect against wildfires
$29 million to protect against cyberattacks
Access to $3.5 billion in national funding for weatherization upgrades
Florida is also eligible for $12.5 billion in competitive, discretionary funds through the Bridge Investment Program for economically important bridges and $16 billion in competitive, discretionary funds for major projects too large or complex for traditional transportation funding programs.
Nationwide, the bill authorizes:
$39 billion in new spending to modernize public transit and improve accessibility
$25 billion to repair and upgrade airports
$17 billion for ports and waterways to ease shipping congestion
$55 billion for clean drinking water and wastewater infrastructure, including $15 billion for lead pipe replacement; $10 billion to address PFAS (polyfluoroalkyl) chemicals, and $23.4 billion for Clean Water State Revolving Fund and Safe Drinking Water State Revolving Fund programs
$7.5 billion to build out a national network of electric vehicle chargers
$198 million for EV (electric vehicle) charging
$50 billion to protect infrastructure from hurricanes, floods, extreme heat, wildfires, and cyberattacks