Governor Ron DeSantis and House Speaker Chris Sprowls announced the award of grants totaling over $404 million for 113 environmental resilience projects across the state through the Resilient Florida Grant Program, which aims to help ready coastal and inland communities for the adverse impacts of flooding and storm surge.
Storm flooding has become a primary issue facing low-lying coastal areas statewide, but particularly in south Florida in regions like Miami-Dade, where residents endured a series of flash floods last year that resulted in millions of dollars in damages. The grant funding will create infrastructure to reinforce canals to withstand rising water levels, among other projects.
“Today’s record investment, as well as the projects included in the statewide plan for future funding, will strengthen our infrastructure to withstand the impacts of flooding and storm surge,” said DeSantis. “For the first time ever, Florida has strategic coordination of statewide efforts to protect our coastal and inland infrastructure, and the dedicated funding to support these projects. This announcement is just the beginning. My administration will continue to support our communities’ resilience efforts across the state.”
The increased rate at which Miami-Dade sees rapid floods and rising water levels have not only battered local infrastructure but also Floridian wallets. Rising home insurance costs have led to recent and real estate prices tracking up, pricing many longtime residents out of the area.
“Sea level rise and flooding impact our home insurance rates, our businesses, and our communities,” said Sprowls. “When I took office as Speaker, I knew we needed to approach this problem in a different and innovative way. That is why we passed the Always Ready bill, carried by Rep. Demi Busatta Cabrera, giving our flooding and resiliency issues a long-term vision and plan, for the first time ever, to prepare Florida today for the challenges of tomorrow. Thanks to the hard work of Florida House Members, Senate President Wilton Simpson, and his chamber, and Gov. Ron DeSantis, Florida continues to be another example for the nation on how to lead the way on environmental resiliency.”
Environmental protection took a high priority in DeSantis’ proposed ‘Freedom Frist’ budget, where he plans to spend upwards of $1 billion in preventative projects to protect Florida’s coastlines, fragile ecosystems, and most importantly, its residents.
“Under Governor DeSantis’ bold vision and leadership, the state of Florida is leading the way on resilience so that our inland and coastal communities are better prepared and more prosperous,” said Chief Resilience Officer Dr. Wes Brooks. “Today’s announcement brings total investments from state-directed and local match funding to more than $1.2 billion for 189 priority projects through the Resilient Florida program and the Statewide Resilience Plan. Much of that funding will support good construction and engineering jobs in our communities, and these projects will also save billions of dollars in avoided flood and storm damages.”
DeSantis’ budget proposes more than $980 million toward Everglades restoration and protecting Florida’s water resources, bringing Florida’s four-year investment to $3 billion. Investments of $3 million to remove invasive Burmese pythons from the Everglades, and a further $550 million to increase the resiliency of Florida’s coastal and inland communities are in the works.