The federal budget bill headed to President Joe Biden’s desk includes millions for projects in South Florida. The bill commits $350 million to Everglades restoration — on top of the $1.1 billion already provided by last year’s infrastructure law — a priority for lawmakers of both parties.
These South Florida projects are funded in the budget bill Congress just passed
BY BRYAN LOWRY
WASHINGTON - The federal budget bill headed to President Joe Biden’s desk includes millions for projects in South Florida.
The bill commits $350 million to Everglades restoration — on top of the $1.1 billion already provided by last year’s infrastructure law — a priority for lawmakers of both parties.
Republican Sens. Marco Rubio and Rick Scott opposed the $1.5 trillion budget bill on the grounds that it includes wasteful spending due to the revival of earmarks — funding for lawmakers’ pet projects — under majority Democrats. But House Republicans from South Florida joined their Democratic colleagues in backing legislation and scored earmarked funding for priority projects in their districts.
Salazar: Mount Sinai, water quality
Mount Sinai Medical Center in Miami Beach will receive roughly $7.7 million through an earmark from freshman Republican Rep. Maria Elvira Salazar. Other projects funded through Salazar’s earmarks include $3 million for potable water improvements in West Miami (Rubio’s hometown) and $2 million for monitoring harmful algae in Biscayne Bay.
“Miami sent me to Washington to fight for them, and I’m doing just that,” Salazar told the Herald in a statement.
Diaz-Balart: wastewater plants, drinking water
Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, R-Florida, a member of the powerful House Appropriations Committee, secured a combined $5 million for a wastewater treatment plant and master pump station in Everglades City and Chokoloskee, after both facilities were damaged in Hurricane Irma. On top of that, the legislation includes $1 million for a safe drinking water project for Miami-Dade County among other local projects.
Although not perfect, these bills are a huge win for Republicans who were successful in eliminating left-wing, radical policies while prioritizing funding to enhance our infrastructure, reinforce our military, strengthen our national security, bolster school safety initiatives, and support our nation’s veterans,” Diaz-Balart said in a statement on the overall legislation.
Wasserman Schultz: pump stations, higher education programs
Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Florida, similarly secured $2 million for a storm water pump station in Sunrise and nearly $2 million for a new pump station in Davie.
The legislation also funds Wasserman Schultz’s requests for a workforce training program at Broward College and to fund imaging studies at Florida International University, with each receiving $2 million.
Frankel: Caridad Center, Recuperative Care Palm Beach
Rep. Lois Frankel, a South Florida Democrat who counts former President Donald Trump among her constituents, similarly touted funding for local projects in her district, including more than $1 million for Boynton Beach’s Caridad Center, the largest free healthcare clinic in Florida, and $1 million for Recuperative Care Palm Beach County, an effort by local nonprofits to provide medical care for homeless people.
“These projects are going to make a positive difference for so many across the Palm Beach County community,” Frankel said.
Gimenez: Agape Village, Keys water and disaster prep, seniors
The Agape Village Health Center in Miami-Dade County will receive $3 million, an amount that is six times more than Republican Rep. Carlos Gimenez’s original request of $500,000.
Other projects in Gimenez’s district that will receive funding include $6 million for Florida Keys water improvement, $5.4 million for pre-disaster mitigation in Monroe County and $2.5 million for the Senior Citizen Plaza, which provides affordable housing in Key West.
Wilson: Boys & Girls Club, Bahamian museum, police body cams
Rep. Frederica Wilson, D-Florida, will see $2.4 million head to the Boys & Girls Club of Miami Gardens, $2.2 million for the Bahamian Museum of Arts and Culture and $1.7 million for body cameras for the Hollywood Police Department through her earmarks.
“Budgets are about priorities and, far too often, imperative projects in districts across America go overlooked in Congress’ spending packages,” Wilson said in a statement. “This year’s omnibus package will overwhelmingly address funding deficits in various municipalities, and I look forward to fighting for funding in next year’s spending package and those thereafter until each municipality in Miami-Dade and Broward receives the appropriations they need.”