MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine-Cava was at the White House Monday, as the $1 trillion dollar infrastructure bill was signed into law.
She was one of the 300 city and county mayors in attendance.
The infrastructure plan will give money to communities all over the country to fund necessary upgrades to things like roads and bridges, as well as create more eco-friendly measures.
"This is not optional. This is essential for our future," says Mayor Levine-Cava, who says the effects will be visible in Miami-Dade.
"Infrastructure is what we rely on every single day, with our roads, our bridges, our buildings, and if we do not tend to them— if we don't make the investments, if we don't do the maintenance, don't do the improvements— then we are putting peoples lives at risk," she says.
WATCH: Deborah Souverain's Report On How Infrastructure Funds Will Help South Florida
With the county being a major travel hub, she says the funding from the plan will be a vital investment for the local economy.
"Our airport and our seaport are our economic engines," says Levine-Cava. "If we don't keep them in the forefront, we will lose out for opportunities on travel and trade."
The mayor's office has already identified key projects they plan for that funding to go toward, such as enhancing public transportation, making the county more pedestrian-friendly, adding a network of charging stations for electric cars, and bringing shore power to PortMiami, which helps save fuel and reduce pollution.
In Broward County, Mayor Steve Geller also praised the signing of the bill. He says that money will be used in the county to make busy intersections safer, as well as provide electric buses.
"We are trying them out for a year," explains Mayor Geller. "Assuming they work well and can survive the summer heat, then we will be buying a lot more electric buses."
Florida's Republican senators and South Florida's Republican members of the House voted against the bill. Senator Marco Rubio says, while infrastructure is important, the bill was rushed. In a statement he said:
"I support investing in roads, bridges, broadband, and efforts to mitigate against sea level rise, and I hoped there would be a bill I could vote for. But this bill was negotiated in secret, rushed through the process without meaningful opportunities to have input, and adds a net increase of $350 billion to the national debt. I can't vote for a bill like that."
Mayor Levine-Cava says people will begin to start seeing the planned improvements in the next five years.
Right now, she knows $1 billion will be going to local water, sewer, and resilience projects. That is not including the transit projects, for which, she says, they will receive additional "hundreds of millions funding."
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