SUN SENTINEL: South Florida in line for funding for new courthouse, police body cams and lots more

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Washington, December 20, 2022 | comments
The new federal courthouse planned for Fort Lauderdale is in line for an extra $55 million — one of many South Florida projects that could get a stream of federal funds to make them a reality. The additional money will help get the new courthouse off the ground, as it faces rising construction costs, said U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz.
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South Florida in line for funding for new courthouse, police body cams and lots more
By Amber Bonefont

FORT LAUDERDALE — The new federal courthouse planned for Fort Lauderdale is in line for an extra $55 million — one of many South Florida projects that could get a stream of federal funds to make them a reality.

The additional money will help get the new courthouse off the ground, as it faces rising construction costs, said U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Weston, in a statement about how she secured funding for several projects as part of the 2023 appropriations bills.

Other projects also secured in the draft Omnibus bill, which is expected to pass both the House and the Senate later this week:

$11 million for Florida International University to establish new pilot coastal monitoring systems in South Florida, meant to help gauge water risks to infrastructure. “This will provide more sea level rise data, and provide early warning of subsurface conditions so cities can plan, adapt and avoid major infrastructure failures,” according to a news release from Wasserman Schultz’s office.
$3.8 million for the city of Hollywood to upgrade its drinking water infrastructure.
$2 million for Feeding South Florida for a mobile market and kitchen that provides free and low-cost healthy foods for lower-income residents in Broward County.
$1.5 million for the city of Hallandale Beach to build an all-electric bus fleet and EV transit parking and charging facility.
$800,000 has been earmarked to go to the town of Davie for police-worn body cameras.
$500,000 for the University of Miami to buy technology to provide an early warning system for infectious diseases and new variants of concern.
Building a courthouse
Congress appropriated approximately $190 million to go toward the new federal courthouse in 2018, with the money intended to cover the entire project from site procurement, design for the building and construction. However, because of rising construction costs in Florida, more funds were needed than were appropriated in 2018.

“This is significant and positive news for all our citizens who rely upon a swift and seamless federal court system, and especially for those who valiantly move these wheels of justice,” Wasserman Schultz said in a statement Tuesday.

The new building is set to replace the current federal courthouse, located at 299 E. Broward Blvd. The current building has been plagued with flooding, chronic roof-leaks, mold and a lack of ease of access to get to other courtrooms. It’s been undergoing renovations to stay usable until the new courthouse is built.

The new courthouse will sit on about 3.5 acres south of the Tarpon River in Fort Lauderdale, an area near Southeast Third Avenue and Southeast 11th Street.

The new 252,000-square-foot courthouse should have 10 stories, with plenty of green spaces, such as a mangrove-lined riverfront trail.

The entire project also is expected to lure millions in new commercial and residential development.
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