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'We Have A Responsibility': Gov. DeSantis Announces $404 Million To Bolster Florida's Resiliency Projects

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Governor Ron DeSantis has announced the state will be spending more than $404 million for 113 environmental resilience projects across the state through the Resilient Florida Grant Program, which will help prepare  communities for the adverse impacts of flooding and storm surge.

During a news conference in Miami on Tuesday, Gov. DeSantis said the money will be spent on projects focusing on infrastructure, drainage, and storm water improvements and a large chunk of that money will be spent in Miami-Dade and Broward counties.

Including a local match associated with these projects, the state and local investment for resilience totals more than $730 million.

Fifteen of the projects will take place in Broward County and 35 of them in Miami-Dade County.

See the entire list of projects here.

"You're going to see really significant resources being put to help fortify Florida," said Gov. DeSantis.

In Miami-Dade County, $160 million will be put towards elevating roadways, sea level rise and flood mitigation, drainage improvements and septic to sewer conversion.

"How these projects are selected is based on criteria and where the need is," said DeSantis.

According to Dade County officials, there are over 100,000 properties using septic tanks.  But as sea levels rise, thousands of them will fail.  One of the most expensive resiliency projects on the list comes in at $55 million, which will be used to update Schenley Park from septic to sewer.

"We are planning for our future. Not three weeks from now or three days from now but thirty years from now," said Chris Sprowls, Speaker for the Florida House of Representatives.

As thousands of people continue to move to South Florida, resiliency is more important than ever.

"More people, more pollution. We want to invest in our infrastructure to make sure we keep all our critical areas protected including our environmental areas," said Irela Bagu, Chief Bay Officer.

The $404 million announced on Tuesday is in addition to the $270 million worth of projects announced in December as part of a sea level rise resiliency plan.

"To help protect critical infrastructure, secure water supplies, boost wetlands conservation and reduce flood impacts," said Florida Chief Resilience Officer, Wes Brooks.

Each of the 113 projects will take anywhere from one to five years to complete.

"Our environment and in particular our waterways are really the backbone of the state; both in terms of the quality of life, economy, the environmental beauty of the state," said DeSantis. " We have a responsibility to leave it better than we found it."

DeSantis says these projects will make huge improvements across the state of Florida but, he says, there is going to be even more coming in the next couple months as they continue to work with the legislature.


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