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Press Release

U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor Leads FL Democrats in Urging Gov. DeSantis End His Grinch-Like Blockade of Transportation $$

DeSantis the Only Governor in America to Reject Funds to Reduce Costs and Pollution

TAMPA, FL – U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor (FL-14) and members of the Florida Democratic Congressional Delegation are urging Gov. DeSantis to reverse his Grinch-like decision to reject $320 million to reduce carbon pollution and improve Florida’s transportation network under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law’s (BIL) Carbon Reduction Program (CRP). The lawmakers’ letter follows reporting that the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) fully intended to implement a plan to improve the state’s infrastructure through public transit, safe rest stop areas and reduced congestion until DeSantis pulled the plug. The DeSantis turnabout landed like a lump of coal in a Christmas stocking, as Florida is the only state in the country to reject the funds.

 “This decision constitutes a stark policy reversal, following months of FDOT planning and the development of the state’s Carbon Reduction Strategy, a prerequisite step for Florida to receive the program’s $320 million in funding. FDOT’s own documents outline the importance of the Carbon Reduction Program — and the investments it would have provided — to the state’s transportation goals. Such goals include: providing safe and convenient transportation options, improving traffic flow and reducing congestion and idling, improving energy efficiency, and reducing climate impacts.”

The lawmakers continued, “Plainly, your repeated rejection of federal investment opportunities will lead our state to a future with more traffic fatalities, higher energy and transportation costs, and worse air pollution. The people of Florida deserve answers, and they deserve a Governor who will not sacrifice the best interests of our state to further an extreme agenda.”

Read the full letter here.

Gov. DeSantis’ rejection of $320 million in carbon reduction infrastructure investments makes Florida the only state in the nation to reject federal CRP funding. The Governor’s decision followed FDOT’s months-long planning and coordination with stakeholders on how to best utilize the funding for Florida’s needs, including a public meeting and presentation on the critical need for this funding and a comprehensive plan to meet the needs of Florida communities – all of which have been deleted from FDOT’s website following FDOT Secretary Perdue’s letter rejecting the funding.

The Governor’s decision — which could send Florida taxpayer dollars to fund other states’ carbon reduction initiatives — comes after DeSantis blocked $346 million in federal home energy efficiency dollars aimed at lowering electric bills. Earlier this month, Rep. Castor co-led a bipartisan group of colleagues in introducing the REBATE Act, which would amend the Inflation Reduction Act to allow local governments to receive federal grants directly to carry out high-efficiency electric home rebate programs. After months of pressure from Castor and her colleagues, Gov. DeSantis appears to have reversed his decision on the energy-saving rebates. DeSantis also blocked investments for electric vehicles, EV charging and solar for all - all of which would lower costs for Florida families. Bah, Humbug!

Signers of the letter to Gov. DeSantis include: Reps. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (FL-25), Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick (FL-20), Darren Soto (FL-09), Maxwell Frost (FL-10) and Lois Frankel (FL-22).