A new analysis released today by independent taxpayer research institute Florida TaxWatch purports that the state is receiving an unfair share of Joe Biden’s Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) that was signed into action on Nov 15, 2021.
With the signing Florida is expected to receive $19.1 billion to be used toward public investment in transportation networks like highways, broadband, and public service projects. Given Florida’s status as the third-largest state, home to nearly 22 million residents, Floridians comprise nearly 7 percent of the national population though will receive just 4.48 percent of the federal aid, which is the lowest among all 50 states on a per capita basis, or $887 per person.
“This isn’t a new issue, as Florida has historically been a donor state for federal aid, with our hard-earned tax dollars going to subsidize programs across the country,” said Florida TaxWatch President and CEO Dominic M. Calabro. “And while inequitable grant distribution formulas have proven hard to change, as more are developed for the infrastructure bill, our Congressional delegation should work to improve Florida’s return, while also aggressively pursuing grant opportunities created by the legislation.”
Florida ranks below other highly populated states in terms of per capita allocation. New York, which has a population of nearly 3 million fewer people than Florida, was awarded $1,333 per person, while Texas receives $1,216 per person.
Florida TaxWatch notes that Florida is being penalized for proper bridge maintenance. The IIJA’s distribution formula for bridge replacement and repair is based on the number of bridges in the state ranked “fair” or “poor” by the Federal Highway Administration’s National Bridge Inspection Standards. This applies to more than half of the country’s bridges, but just over one-third of the bridges in Florida. Consequentially, the state is slated to receive $245 million of the available $26 billion, or less than one percent.
The analysis also claims that as a large donor state, Florida is consistently ranked low in terms of per capita grants and grants as a percentage of federal taxes paid. In the Federal-Aid Highway Program, the state’s share of funding is drastically lower than the share of gas taxes paid by Floridians, resulting in a national ranking of 46th in terms of total return on federal transportation aid.
Florida’s projected allocation of the $19.1 billion includes $1.2 billion to facilitate airport improvements, $100 million to expand broadband deployment in rural and underserved areas, $29 million to protect against cyberattacks, $26 million to protect against wildfires, and $16.1 million to support public transportation and transit, bridge replacement and repairs, and electric vehicle charging stations.