Governor Ron DeSantis Announces Award of More Than $404 Million for 113 Projects Through the Resilient Florida Grant Program
DUNEDIN, FL (STL.News) Governor Ron DeSantis visited Pinellas and Miami-Dade counties to announce the award of grants totaling over $404 million for 113 environmental resilience projects across the state through the Resilient Florida Grant Program, which will help prepare coastal and inland communities for the adverse impacts of flooding and storm surge. The Governor was joined by House Speaker Chris Sprowls, Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Secretary Shawn Hamilton, Chief Resilience Officer (CRO) Dr. Wes Brooks, and other stakeholders to make the announcement. The list of projects awarded today can be found here.
“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 Governor Ron 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 projects awarded today will enhance Florida’s efforts to protect inland and coastal communities from storm damage spanning across 25 counties. Including the local match associated with these projects, today’s state and local investment for resilience totals more than $730 million.
“Today’s record investment is a testament to our administration’s steadfast commitment to preserving and restoring Florida’s natural treasures,” said Lieutenant Governor Jeanette Nuñez. “As a South Floridian, I applaud these significant investments that will further strengthen our inland and coastal communities, while keeping Florida’s environment resilient.”
“Sea level rise and flooding impacts our home insurance rates, our businesses, and our communities,” said House Speaker Chris 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.”
“I’m grateful to Governor DeSantis and Speaker Sprowls for their vision that Florida would become a national example of resilient communities and their leadership in making it happen,” said Senate President Wilton Simpson. “Our state has elevated flood mitigation as a critical part of Florida’s public safety infrastructure with responsible, comprehensive planning that will benefit generations of Floridians to come.”
“Today is another example of the leadership of Governor DeSantis, the Florida Legislature, and local governments across our state in action,” said DEP Secretary Shawn Hamilton. “These projects will reduce the economic and environmental challenges associated with sea level rise, flooding, and storm events, ensuring the safety and resilience of Florida communities.”
“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.”
The Fiscal Year (FY) 2021-2022 budget included funding to support the most significant investment in the state’s history — over $640 million — to support efforts to ensure state and local communities are prepared to deal with the impacts of sea-level rise, intensified storms, and flooding.
In his proposed budget for Fiscal Year 2021-22, Governor DeSantis recommended the creation of the Resilient Florida Grant Program to help prepare communities for the impacts of sea level rise and flooding. The Legislature answered the call, passing Senate Bill 1954, which was signed into law by Governor DeSantis. As a result, for the first time ever, the state has a coordinated approach to Florida’s coastal and inland resilience and provides a structure for resilience projects to follow the best available science and data while enhancing efforts to protect inland and coastal resources that act as natural defenses against sea-level rise.
In December, Governor DeSantis announced the state’s first ever Flooding Resilience Plan which proposes 76 projects across the state totaling over $270 million, subject to appropriation. DEP accepted applications through their online portal through September 1, 2021.
Since taking office, Governor DeSantis has taken action to make Florida’s communities more resilient. In addition to championing the creation of the Resilient Florida Grant Program, Governor DeSantis created the Office of Resilience and Coastal Protection at DEP to provide funding, technical assistance, and coordination among state, regional, and local entities to help support Florida’s coastal communities and appointed the state’s first Chief Resilience Officer to coordinate the state’s resilience efforts.