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Florida Republicans want more of the federal infrastructure funding from bill they opposed

Florida is set to receive around $245 million of federal funding for bridge repairs. The amount isn't sitting too well with Republicans.

FLORIDA, USA — Editor's note: The video above is from a story published on Jan. 20, 2022.

Months after Florida Republicans voted against President Joe Biden's infrastructure bill over "wasteful" spending, the same group is calling on the federal government to provide the state with more funding for bridge repairs.  

More than $27 billion in federal funding will be sent to states across the country to repair and rehabilitate bridges as part of the bill. Florida will receive around $245 million of that funding.

That isn't sitting too well with the state's governor.

In January, Gov. Ron DeSantis accused the Biden Administration of "short-changing" Florida with its allotment of federal funds. According to the governor, the funding is based on the number of bridges in disrepair, but DeSantis claims states with fewer bridges received twice as much funding as Florida.

“The Biden Administration continues to punish states that are succeeding,” DeSantis said in a news release.

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) dashboard, there are 408 bridges in Florida that are in poor condition. The dashboard doesn’t specify which bridges those are. However, DeSantis claims states like Connecticut have 248 bridges in poor condition but are receiving $561.4 million in funding — more than double Florida's allotment.

Other state Republicans are joining the governor in voicing their displeasure, including Sens. Marco Rubio and Rick Scott.

In a letter sent to Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, both senators ask that the federal government reconsider Florida's funding. They claim Florida will only receive one percent of the billions of dollars being sent to states when typically Florida receives nearly five percent from federal highway funding.

However, just months earlier, both Rubio and Scott voted against receiving any federal funds. In fact, all Florida Republicans voted against the infrastructure bill.

At the time, Scott said he was against the bill because the $27 billion of spending only added to "our national deficit, further fueling President Biden’s inflation crisis." Rubio echoed a similar sentiment when he called the spending "wasteful" in a statement.

In a news conference on Monday, Rubio said his main gripe with the bill was that it contained funding for other projects that he claimed had nothing to do with infrastructure.

"If this was an infrastructure bill, you'd even have more votes," Rubio said. "Why does it have all this money for the northeast corridor and Amtrak? Because of New York. Money for California. Money for Alaska because of the votes they were able to get from a senator there."

On Tuesday, DeSantis said if the federal government is giving states money, then he's going to fight for Florida's "fair share" of it. He added he agreed that the infrastructure bill contained other projects that didn't relate to infrastructure. 

"Whatever is out there, I'm competing for because I want to be able to deliver for every Floridian we can," DeSantis said. 

The DOT says the formula used to determine how much federal funding each state should receive for bridge repairs was determined by a bipartisan, congressionally-mandated formula. The formula appropriates funds based on the cost of repairs for bridges classified in poor and fair condition, not the number of bridges, according to the DOT.

"The formula is affected by the deck area of bridges in poor or fair condition and the unit costs reported to the [Federal Highway Administration] by the states to replace or rehabilitate a bridge in that state," the DOT says. 

The DOT adds that the nearly $245 million Florida will receive will not just go to improving the 408 bridges it identified in poor condition, but the more than 4,000 other bridges identified in fair condition. 

The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) releases its own bridge report every year. In the 2021 report, the department claimed, of the 12,595 bridges in Florida, 94.63 percent of the FDOT maintained bridges are in excellent or good condition. 

Not all bridges are maintained by FDOT. Counties and cities also maintain bridges, but FDOT maintains the majority of bridges in Florida. The report states the percentage of bridges maintained by counties that are in excellent or good condition is 78.55 percent, then 81.86 percent for city/town bridges, and 74.17 percent for other agency bridges.

By looking at the Federal Highway Administration's National Bridge Inventory data, 10 Tampa Bay was able to narrow down which of the 408 bridges in poor condition are in the Tampa Bay area.

Bridges are listed by a structure number and the county they are located in. Within the FHWA National Bridge Inventory, there is a map that gives the location of the bridge. Other information like when the bridge was inspected, who maintains it and the age of the bridge are also included in the chart on the website.

Bridges in poor condition across the Tampa Bay area include:

Hillsborough County

  • Structure #104253 – located on Newberger Rd. near Pine Bluff Drive
  • Structure #105604 – located on S. Maydell Dr. near S. Murrhee Rd.
  • Structure #104320 – located on Phillips Ln. near Eugene Acres Ln.
  • Structure #104600 – located on Northdale Blvd. near Autumn Leaves Dr.

Manatee County

  • Structure #134072 – located on W. 51st St. near W. 29th Ave.

Pasco County

  • Structure #140059 – located on Osowaw Blvd. 595 near Littell Rd.
  • Structure #144011 – located on Pasco Rd. near Sorrento Ln.
  • Structure #140050 – located on Grand Blvd. near Tidalwave Dr.

Pinellas County

  • Structure #157154 – located on NE 40th Ave. NE near NE 12th St.
  • Structure #150049 – located on Pinellas Bayway 679, connecting Tierra Verde to Isla Del Sol
  • Structure #157117 – located on S. Dr. MLK Jr. St. near 7th Ave.
  • Structure #157302 – located on S. 38th St. near 22nd Ave.
  • Structure #154207 – located on S. Belcher Rd. near Egret Dr.
  • Structure #157235 – located on S. 11th Ave near 5th St.
  • Structure #154153 – located on Ridgemoor Blvd. near Tarpon Woods Blvd.

Sarasota County

  • Structure #176001 – located on Capri Isles Blvd. over Curry Creek near Bridle Oaks Dr
  • Structure #175030 – Inkwood Dr. near Langlais Dr.
  • Structure #174069 – located on S. Tuttle Ave. over Phillippi Creek near Valencia Dr.
  • Structure #174063 – located on S. Gondola Dr. near Claw Ct.

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