MIAMI - Vice President Kamala Harris was in South Florida Monday, making a stop at FIU to announce the White House will be putting more than $1 billion towards extreme heat and flooding.
It's part of their Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities or BRIC program, and is in addition to the $2.3 billion grant President Joe Biden announced last month.
Of the grant, $50 million will go towards protecting low-lying neighborhoods in South Florida from sea level rise and storm surge. Experts say the funding comes at a critical time.
"Our bays are in serious trouble and it's because the infrastructure Miami's built on is really antiquated it's from the 40s. When we get a lot of rain the sewer pipes and storm water drains backflow and all of that stuff goes to the bay," said Todd Crowl, director of FIU's Institute of Environment.
"Here in Florida hurricanes are becoming stronger and many areas are dealing with record breaking heatwaves," said Harris.
Harris says we are seeing and feeling the impacts of extreme weather and climate change all across the country. Her first stop was the National Hurricane Center for a briefing from NOAA and FEMA.
"The president and I have a duty to act before disaster strikes," she explained.
This is a grant that will operate through FEMA. And while the money won't be enough to solve the infrastructure problems in South Florida, Crowl says it's a major step towards stopping pollutants from running into our waterways.
"This money is going to be instrumental in helping us start to refurbish the city of Miami," he said.
FIU is working to figure out the problem areas now so when the money becomes available, they'll be able to act quickly.
"We're doing what we call chemical fingerprinting. We're going up and down all of the waterways looking for the sources of the contaminants. That way we'll be able to see what neighborhoods are the majority of the contaminants coming from," he said.
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