Governor Ron DeSantis Responds to Inadequate Allotment for Bridge Improvements from the Biden Administration
Tallahassee, FL (STL.News) Last week, the Biden administration announced it would continue to harm Florida for its success through the distribution of less than $245 million to Florida for bridge repairs out of the almost $27 billion in bridge investments that states will be receiving through the Bridge Formula Program within the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA). The formula used to calculate the amount given to states penalizes Florida for doing its job and successfully maintaining the infrastructure that Floridians require to live and work every day.
“The Biden Administration continues to punish states that are succeeding,” said Governor Ron DeSantis. “Despite obstacles created by the Biden Administration, the State of Florida continues to thrive and foster an environment that draws new residents and tourists every single day. By doing so, Florida has continued to grow, and our infrastructure must be able to keep up the pace. The Biden Administration though is short-changing Florida yet again.”
Despite the claims from the federal government that the funding is based off the number of bridges in disrepair, states with a similar or fewer number of bridges in disrepair are receiving more than twice as much funding as Florida. Florida has more than 12,500 bridges statewide, and the Bridge Formula Program has identified 408 bridges that are in poor condition. Under the formula, Washington State has 416 bridges identified as in poor condition, similar to Florida’s 408, but Washington State is set to receive $605.1 million from the federal government. Additionally, Connecticut has 248 bridges identified as in poor condition and is set to receive $561.4 million in funding, over twice as much as Florida is receiving with 160 fewer bridges to repair. Biden’s home state of Delaware will receive $225 million, just $20 million less than Florida, for only 19 bridges to repair.
The Biden Administration’s small allotment of funding to Florida is a disservice to the state and its nearly 22 million residents. Between July 2020 and July 2021, Florida added 220,890 new residents from other states, the largest net gain in the country. People are fleeing other states for the free and growing state of Florida, all of which will need access to quality infrastructure that was not available in their previous home states.
“Florida is a national leader in transportation infrastructure, and as a result, a bold and proactive approach should be rewarded, not penalized,” said FDOT Secretary Kevin J. Thibault, P.E. “FDOT takes great pride in achieving a level of maintenance that meets and exceeds the established standards and expectations, and it is disheartening to see Florida will not benefit as much as others because we have proactively maintained our critical transportation system.”
Unfortunately, Florida will only receive 0.92 percent of the $26.5 billion funding going to states compared to the 4.78 percent of highway funding Florida normally receives. States including Washington, Pennsylvania, New York, and New Jersey will receive more funding for bridge repairs despite Florida ranking as the third most populous state in the country, only behind California and Texas.
Less populous states set to receive more funding than Florida include:
- New York, which will receive nearly $1.9 billion and has a population of 19.8 million people with 1,702 bridges in poor condition.
- New Jersey will receive over $1.1 billion and has a population of 9.2 million people with 502 bridges in poor condition.
- Pennsylvania will receive over $1.6 billion and has a population of 12.9 million people with 3,353 bridges in poor condition.
- Washington will receive over $605 million and has a population of 7.7 million people with 416 bridges in poor condition.
- Michigan will receive over $563 million and has a population of 10 million people with 1,219 bridges in poor condition.
- Connecticut will receive over $561 million and has a population of 3.6 million people with 248 bridges in poor condition.
- Illinois will receive nearly $1.4 billion and has a population of 12.6 million with 2,374 bridges in poor condition.