Below-par Florida infrastructure, civil engineers say

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The American Society of Civil Engineers says state funding is for maintenance and repairs only. Florida needs federal funding for lasting change.

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla .– Every four years, Florida gets a score for its infrastructure. The latest report was delayed by the pandemic, but the state has kept its score.

“Our last report card was in 2016. We were able to maintain our ‘C’ rating,” said Kathleen Ruvarac, chair of state assessment for the American Society of Civil Engineers.

She helped write the report and says the biggest improvements have been in transportation.

“We have seen additional funding in the transport sectors. Aviation at our main airports has undergone major upgrades to increase capacity, and not just with the gates, but also the shuttles,” said Ruvarac.

But there are places where the state has struggled. In addition to our dikes and dams, schools have also obtained a D grade.

“Some of the problems with our schools are that they are aging and rural communities cannot compete and keep up with the extra capacity,” Ruvarac said.

Meanwhile, the FDOT continues to make changes to Florida’s roads and bridges, adding to the statewide improvement, dramatically increasing funding for the state’s highway system. All with the hope that the changes will resist climate change.

“We have extreme weather events and of course they are unpredictable,” Ruvarac said. “Whether it’s a hurricane or just heavy rains, it not only affects our coasts and the erosion and protection of our infrastructure along our coasts, our, you know, our businesses, our hotels, our residences, our roads. , but also the consumption of alcohol, water and our sanitation system. “

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Ruvac said Governor Ron DeSantis had just budgeted an additional $ 500 million for coastal resilience, but state funding is only for maintenance and repairs.

“I think to meet the need for additional capacity we can look forward to receiving federal funding,” Ruvarac said.

The group says the money from President Joe Biden’s infrastructure bill will help create lasting change.

“Having an additional $ 14 billion in our state bank would definitely help solve a lot of the problems we have,” Ruvarac said.

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