Congress can now control more money, and two South Florida Reps. will play a big role

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Over the last decade, members of Congress have been unable to request federal funds for specific projects in their districts after Republicans banned the practice at the height of the Tea Party wave to curb what conservatives called wasteful spending.

But now the requests, called earmarks, are back. And two South Florida lawmakers will play an important role in the process, which is competitive. Not every lawmaker will get what they want.

Democratic Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Republican Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart have leadership roles in the House Appropriations Committee, the body responsible for federal spending proposals.

Wasserman Schultz is the top Democrat on the subcommittee responsible for earmarks related to military construction projects while Diaz-Balart is the top Republican for transportation funding requests through the appropriations process, though Democrats ultimately control the subcommittee.

The main reason for bringing [earmarks] back is so you can lift the veil of opacity that existed for the last decade,” said Wasserman Schultz, D-Weston, who supported the return of earmarks during her unsuccessful campaign to lead the entire committee. “They just went up into the amorphous blob of the executive branch where pots of funds were allocated and nameless, faceless bureaucrats that no one had access to made decisions.”

Every U.S. House member from South Florida submitted a list of 10 projects each in their districts to receive federal funds through the annual appropriations process.

Republican-proposed projects include a $6 million plan from Diaz-Balart for a new wastewater treatment plant in Everglades City, $750,000 for police body cameras in Homestead from Rep. Carlos Gimenez and $3 million to improve water pipes in West Miami from Rep. Maria Elvira Salazar.

Democratic-proposed projects include $1.8 million for drainage upgrades in Davie from Wasserman Schultz, $560,000 in additional mental health resources for the Broward Sheriff’s Office from Rep. Ted Deutch, $2.2 million for a Bahamian Museum of Arts and Culture from Rep. Frederica Wilson and $1 million to help victims of domestic abuse in Delray Beach from Rep. Lois Frankel.

The office of former Rep. Alcee Hastings was unable to participate in the process following the congressman’s death in April.

But while all seven U.S. House members from South Florida submitted earmark requests, Florida’s Republicans in Washington are divided on the practice. Only about half of House Republicans submitted earmark requests and the state’s two Republican U.S. senators aren’t on board.

Sens. Marco Rubio and Rick Scott have vocally opposed the return of earmarks, which were banned in 2011 after Republicans took control of Congress. House Democrats kept the ban in place when they regained power in 2019, but reversed course this year after politicians from both parties argued that banning earmarks put more federal spending decisions in the hands of un-elected administrators instead of elected officials who know their districts and are held accountable by voters.

Scott and Rubio were among 19 Republican senators who signed a letter in April and filed a bill objecting to earmarks.

“We, the undersigned, stand committed to the ban on earmarks,” Scott and Rubio wrote. “We will not vote to repeal it. We will not participate in an inherently wasteful spending practice that is prone to serious abuse.”

Just six Republican senators said they plan to request earmarks, which could put states like Florida where both senators are opposed to the practice at a disadvantage. Democratic senators have vowed to keep an even money split between parties, so the Senate Republicans who opt-in could bring home more money.

Vehicle for corruption

In some cases, before they were banned a decade ago, earmarks landed lawmakers in prison.

In 2006, former Republican Rep. Randy “Duke” Cunningham was charged with taking more than $2 million in bribes in exchange for earmarks. And former Alaska Republican Sen. Ted Stevens secured a $235 million earmark for the infamous “Bridge to Nowhere,” a bridge that was ultimately never built for an island with 50 people on it. Senior lawmakers from small states like Alaska and West Virginia frequently secured large earmarks for their states at the expense of more worthy projects in bigger states that happened to have less congressional seniority.

But while those scandals eventually prompted Congress to ban the practice, the Trump era curtailed the near-universal opposition to earmarks from Republicans. In 2018, former President Donald Trump backed earmarks and shied away from Republican orthodoxy against most government spending. And while Cunningham served what was once the longest prison sentence of any former member of Congress, Trump, on his last day in office, pardoned him.

To prevent corruption, Democrats instituted rules that are supposed to increase transparency. Each member’s earmark requests, which were limited to 10, are publicly available, and lawmakers attest that none of the funds will benefit themselves nor their immediate family members. The beneficiaries of earmarks must be local governments or non-profits. For-profit companies are not eligible.

The total amount of money for earmarks in the House is also limited to one percent of federal discretionary spending, which would be about $14 billion for the 2021 fiscal year.

The vast majority of lawmakers weren’t in office the last time earmarks were allowed, and many lawmakers submitted scaled-back earmark requests, far less than the $235 million “Bridge to Nowhere.” None of Deutch’s requests, for example, exceed $1 million.

The largest single project submitted by a South Florida lawmaker is a $13.5 million request from Wasserman Schultz for a particle accelerator at Florida International University, a project described by the congresswoman as “a first-of-its-kind for the state of Florida” and “a critical step towards early detection, diagnosis and treatment of multiple devastating diseases.”

Local influence

Wasserman Schultz and Diaz-Balart, who are also Florida’s longest-serving U.S. Representatives in office, will play a large role in funding requests for military construction and transportation projects.

Wasserman Schultz said her subcommittee, which is responsible for military construction and Veterans Affairs spending, is a bit different than others because earmarks aren’t allowed for VA projects and all military construction requests have pre-approval from the armed forces.

“There are limitations in my [appropriations] bill. Since a military project is not a community project, it has to be on a list that the military has already submitted,” Wasserman Schultz said. “We make those considerations based on the total needs of the military construction budget and what we have available resources for. That’s in my subcommittee, other subcommittees are going to have it shake out differently.”

Diaz-Balart is the top Republican responsible for transportation funding requests through the appropriations process, though Democrats ultimately control the subcommittee. In past years, ranking members like Diaz-Balart had control of 40% of funds available for a specific bill while subcommittee chairs like Wasserman Schultz controlled 60% of the funds.

While Democrats in the U.S. Senate pledged to divide funds equally between both parties, Wasserman Schultz said requests in the House will be doled out “fairly and objectively, regardless of party affiliation.”

There are also additional opportunities for lawmakers to request earmarks outside the appropriations process for transportation projects. That pool of money is much smaller, though Salazar requested funds for an additional eight projects on top of her 10 appropriations earmark requests.

Wasserman Schultz said members who have gone through the process before know that funds are scarce. She said her requests prioritized projects that could not get funding elsewhere, geographic diversity and projects that will benefit a large number of people.

What I know from my experience earmarking in the past is I want to maximize the chances that the project I’m submitting gets funding,” Wasserman Schultz said. “If your project...doesn’t effect a lot of people and it can get money elsewhere those sort of add obstacles to your path.”

List of Projects

Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D)

Total amount requested: $27.9 million

  • Project Name: Broward UP

  • Request Amount: $5,000,000

  • Intended Recipient: Broward College

  • Explanation of the request: “Broward UP brings postsecondary education and workforce development into Broward UP communities. The funds will be used to expand workforce training and certifications, provide success coaching to get residents to the finish line of their educational programs, provide placement in jobs and educational programs, create access of training programs through two mobile units, technology carts and program development to expand courses being offered in the community.”

  • Project Name: Hollywood PD Body Worn Cameras Project

  • Request Amount: $1,701,895

  • Intended Recipient: City of Hollywood Police Department

  • Explanation of the request: “This request will allow the Hollywood Police Department to purchase and maintain body-worn cameras (BWCs) for 250 patrol officers. Many community stakeholders and criminal justice leaders have suggested that placing BWCs on police officers improves the civility of police-citizen encounters and enhances citizen perceptions of police legitimacy. Better transparency, increased civility, quicker resolution, corroborating evidence and training opportunities are the main benefits of BWCs for the community and the Police Department.”

  • Project Name: City of Sunrise Storm Water Pump Station #8 Replacement

  • Request Amount: $2,000,000

  • Intended Recipient: City of Sunrise

  • Explanation of the request: “The funding for this project would be used to replace the aging pump, which manages stormwater and provides flood protection to thousands of acres of residents and businesses including Sawgrass Mills Mall, the largest outlet and value retail shopping destination in the United States. The pump station is nearing the end of its useful life and needs to be replaced. This project would benefit taxpayers by providing critical flood protection to thousands of homeowners and businesses in the City of Sunrise, and to neighboring communities in western Broward County.”

  • Project Name: Dania Beach Water Utility Upgrade and Improvement Project

  • Request Amount: $1,500,000

  • Intended Recipient: City of Dania Beach

  • Explanation of the request: “The funding for this project would be used for the construction of new water transmission lines that serve residential neighborhoods. The City’s utilities are some of the oldest in Broward County, with some of its highest rates. The water utility’s capital improvement plan identified four water lines that serve residential neighborhoods that require replacement to maintain water quality to those residents.”

  • Project Name: PET/Cyclotron Center

  • Request Amount: $13,500,000

  • Intended Recipient: Florida International University

  • Explanation of the request: “Florida International University (FIU) has requested $13.5 million to establish a PET/Cyclotron Center in order to perform imaging studies and advance solutions to a variety of human diseases that face our communities. A cyclotron is a type of compact particle accelerator that produces radioactive isotopes that can be used for imaging procedures. With a Cyclotron Center, FIU would establish research partnerships to perform imaging studies on several diseases, such as cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, substance abuse, and more. This investment would be a first-of-its-kind for the state of Florida, and it is a resource that would drive public-private partnerships and draw collaborative opportunities with the burgeoning biotechnology industry in South Florida.”

  • Project Name: Emerging Technologies Equipment

  • Request Amount: $1,930,519

  • Intended Recipient: Nova Southeastern University (NSU)

  • Explanation of the request: “Working through NSU’s Broward Center of Innovation, NSU would use these funds to target minority graduate students in order to expand their curriculum in areas of spatial computing, artificial intelligence, robotics, and experiential human-focused technologies. Florida has been increasingly recognized as a hub for the high-tech sector, with several companies having established a strong presence in South Florida, which has created hundreds of jobs within the technology sector. The funds requested for the Emerging Technologies Equipment program will help fulfill NSU’s goal of creating a “next generation” technology-focused workshop and lab for students in the field of computer science and technology.”

  • Project Name: PACE Reach Teletherapy Expansion

  • Request Amount: $500,000

  • Intended Recipient: PACE Center for Girls

  • Explanation of the request: “Through this project, Pace Center for Girls will design and develop an integrated Pace Reach Teletherapy platform system to expand its already established flagship Reach Therapeutic Counseling services for adolescent girls living in hard-to-reach geographical areas within Florida’s 23rd District. The organization is headquartered in Jacksonville, but this will be focused solely on FL-23. Targeted areas for the expansion and provision of Pace Reach teletherapy services will include: Davie, Dania Beach, Sunrise, Hollywood, Weston, Pembrooke Pines, Cooper City, Southwest Ranches, Hallandale Beach and Aventura.”

  • Project Name: Town of Davie Shenandoah Drainage Improvements

  • Request Amount: $1,840,000

  • Intended Recipient: Town of Davie

  • Explanation of the request: “The funding for this project would be used to fund the design, permitting, and construction of a pump station improve drainage capacity, which will improve and enhance water treatment to comply with National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) standards. This project proposes to improve the drainage infrastructure throughout the Town. The project will improve drainage capacity, enhance water treatment, reduce water levels pre- and post-storm, and alleviate flooding issues that prohibits residents from entering and leaving the community during a heavy rainstorm.”

Rep. Maria Elvira Salazar (R)

Total amount requested: $14.3 million

  • Project name: Biscayne Bay Water Pump (Coconut Grove)

  • Request Amount: $1,600,000

  • Intended Recipient: Miami-Dade County

  • Explanation of the request: “This pump will support the conversion of parcels served by septic systems to the sanitary sewer system to reduce the risk of nutrients being transported to the groundwater aquifer (Biscayne Aquifer), canals, and ultimately Biscayne Bay. This will help prevent sewage backups into homes and potential exposure of residents to flood waters that may be contaminated with sewage. It is expected to provide a safe and reliable sewer service that will perform better in a coastal community subject to the impacts of rising groundwater.”

  • Project name: Greater Biscayne Bay Harmful Algae Bloom Monitoring Program

  • Project Amount: $2,000,000

  • Intended Recipient: Florida International University

  • Explanation of the request: “This project will promote health and wellbeing for the community, marine life, the environment, and the local economy by creating a monitoring system to predict the extent of future toxic algal blooms in Biscayne and Florida Bays.”

  • Project name: Key Biscayne K-8 Center Elementary School Stormwater Improvements Project

  • Project Amount: $500,000

  • Intended Recipient: The Village of Key Biscayne

  • Explanation of the request: “This project will provide a safer, more quality educational environment for school-aged children at Key Biscayne’s K-8 Elementary and Middle School by reducing the excessive flooding experienced in and around the school. In addition to addressing flooding at the school, this would also help reduce the high amount of pollutants discharged into Biscayne Bay.”

  • Project name: Mount Sinai Medical Center Infrastructure Hardening and Resiliency Project

  • Project Amount: $5,000,000

  • Intended Recipient: The City of Miami Beach

  • Explanation of the Request: “As the sole hospital provider during disasters for vulnerable populations without options, Mount Sinai fulfills an essential emergency healthcare function for the city, state, and federal governments. Mount Sinai Medical Center has developed a Resiliency Master Plan that will protect campus facilities and mitigate damage from storm surge, seawater intrusion, windstorm damage, and flooding. The requested funds for this project would go towards resiliency improvements that the center needs to continue to safely serve its 10,000,000+ annual visitors and protect the lives of patients, hospital staff, and local residents in times of severe weather emergencies.”

  • Project name: National Center for Education and Conservation of Florida’s Coral Reefs

  • Project Amount: $1,150,000

  • Intended Recipient: Frost Museum of Science, 1101 Biscayne Blvd, Miami, FL 33132

  • Explanation of the Request: “This project would create a new community-focused coral nursery and education center at the Frost Museum of Science, which would allow for research, education, and conservation work to save Florida’s Coral Reef. The proposed center would provide unique opportunities for continuous education, research and dissemination, and active field conservation of Florida’s coral reefs, while connecting people to marine science, STEM based education, biodiversity and restoration.”

  • Project name: Pinecrest Stormwater Management Project

  • Project Amount: $606,000

  • Intended Recipient: The Village of Pinecrest

  • Explanation of the Request: “The Stormwater Management Project focuses on much-needed infrastructure improvements to reduce flooding and more effectively manage stormwater. The proposed project is located in an area that has suffered repetitive flooding over the years, and this project would dramatically reduce the risk of floods in the future.”

  • Project name: Startup FIU Tech and Food Business Hub

  • Project Amount: $500,000

  • Intended Recipient: Florida International University

  • Explanation of the Request: “StartUP FIU is a university-wide initiative that fosters innovation and entrepreneurship for its students, faculty, alumni, and for the greater community of Miami. This project proposes to partner with community and local governmental organizations in Florida’s 27th District to develop a Startup FIU Technology and Food Business Hub that would create over 500 jobs. The proposed grant would be used to help students partner directly with companies to enhance their skills in digital marketing, social media, website development, e-commerce, design thinking, sales, finance, entrepreneurship, and data analytics.”

  • Project name: West Miami Potable Water Main Improvements Project

  • Project Amount: $3,000,000

  • Intended Recipient: The City of West Miami

  • Explanation of the Request: “The City of West Miami’s existing potable water system is comprised largely of 4”-8” cast-iron mains constructed over 50 years ago and is unsuitable to serve the existing population of the City. The outdated system suffers from leakage, intermittent failures, and ruptures causing disruptions in service, damage to infrastructure, and potential contamination. This project will help the City replace its aged and outdated water infrastructure.”

Rep. Carlos Gimenez (R)

Total Amount Requested: $23.8 million

  • Project name: Card Sound Bridge Replacement Planning and Design Project

  • Project Amount: $4,200,000

  • Intended Recipient: Monroe County, Florida

  • Explanation of the Request: “This funding is designated for completing the project development and environment and engineering design and permitting work to prepare for a replacement of the Card Sound Bridge. The 52-year-old bridge is a fracture critical, high level structure that spans the Intercoastal Waterway in north Key Largo, FL.”

  • Project name: Clean Water Project Miami Dade

  • Project Amount: $2,000,000

  • Intended Recipient: Miami-Dade County, Florida

  • Explanation of the Request: “This project would be a valuable use of taxpayer funds because the contamination of private wells occurred through no fault of the residents. Connection to the public water supply will enable these residents to have drinking water that meets all public health standards, protect the value of their property, and maintain the viability of their neighborhoods.”

  • Project name: Twin Lakes Subdivision Pre-Disaster Mitigation

  • Project Amount: $5,484,299

  • Intended Recipient: Monroe County, Florida

  • Explanation of the Request: “During times of natural disasters, the project will provide value to the community by ensuring that residents can safely evacuate their homes, emergency services can reach disaster victims, roads can be cleared of debris, power lines can be restored, damages assessed, and recovery can occur through access to the neighborhood.”

  • Project name: Body Cameras for Homestead Police Department

  • Project Amount: $750,000

  • Intended Recipient: Homestead Police Department

  • Explanation of the Request: “Money will be spent on the costs of contracting body worn cameras, and for purchasing and training additional officers on an annual basis. The City is in a five-year body camera contract to implement the Homestead Police Department’s Body Camera Program, but that contract would be terminated if the City is unable to fund the project.”

  • Project name: Aquarius Coral Reef Observatory

  • Project Amount: $567,283

  • Intended Recipient: Florida International University

  • Explanation of the Request: “The project would be a valuable use of taxpayer funds because FIU will establish a uniquely capable observation system, the Aquarius Coral Reef Observatory, to monitor ocean temperature, water clarity, water chemistry and ocean acidifcation.”

  • Project name: Operation Safe Ride

  • Project Amount: $2,009,086

  • Intended Recipient: Miami-Dade Police Department

  • Explanation of the Request: “The project would be a valuable use of taxpayer funds because Operation Safe Ride directly impacts the public safety of residents and visitors using Miami-Dade County’s Metrorail and Metromover systems and prioritizes community violence reduction.”

  • Project name: Employ Miami Dade

  • Project Amount: $500,000

  • Intended Recipient: Neighbors and Neighbors

  • Explanation of the Request: “The project would be a valuable use of taxpayer funds because the funding would allow Neighbors and Neighbors to expand the Employ Miami-Dade program, which was created to provide Work Readiness and Vocational Training classes to 200 other high-risk youth residing in the 18 most undeserved communities throughout Miami-Dade County.”

  • Project name: Miami SCI Wellness Expansion for Paralysis Therapy

  • Project Amount: $440,000

  • Intended Recipient: Miami SCI Wellness

  • Explanation of the Request: “This project would be a valuable use of taxpayer funds because it would allow Miami Wellness to expand and improve their physical therapy and wellness programs serving the paralysis community in Miami-Dade through the acquisition of capital equipment for rehabilitative treatment of spinal cord injury, traumatic brain injury, stroke and neurological conditions.”

  • Project name: Florida Keys Water Quality Improvement Program

  • Project Amount: $5,000,000

  • Intended Recipient: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

  • Explanation of the Request: “This project would be a valuable use of taxpayer funds because the funding would assist in the completion of the large scale USACE Environmental Infrastructure project which is intended to protect and improve the nearshore waters of the National Marine Sanctuary and ensure the environmental and economic vitality of the Florida Keys.”

  • Project name: Senior Citizen Plaza

  • Project Amount: $2,500,000

  • Intended Recipient: Housing Authority of the City of Key West

  • Explanation of the Request: “Replacement of the aging transformer and generator at the subject property is necessary to guarantee their ability to perform correctly during and after a blackout event. Due to the advanced age of the residents of the subject property, a generator is not a luxury, but rather an actual lifesaver.”

  • Project name: Agape Village Health Center

  • Project Amount: $500,000

  • Intended Recipient: Agape Network

  • Explanation of the Request: “The project would be a valuable use of taxpayer funds because they will be used towards the construction of the Agape Village Health Center which will increase Agape’s capacity of patients being served from 1,000 to 2,500 receiving outpatient weekly services.”

Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R)

Total amount requested: $11.8 million

  • Project name: Everglades City Wastewater Treatment Plant

  • Amount: $6,000,000

  • Recipient: Everglades City

  • Justification: “The City’s existing wastewater treatment facility is damaged, malfunctioning, at the end of its useful life, and overall is in very poor condition. The lack of redundancy, advanced level of corrosion, undersized and inoperative equipment could at any moment result in a complete and catastrophic failure of wastewater treatment capability and potentially a wastewater spill into the Everglades National Park. The facility needs a complete replacement of all systems to guarantee compliance with Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) Rules. The facility is located adjacent to the environmentally sensitive Ten Thousand Islands, Everglades National Park and the Big Cypress National Preserve. The project consists of constructing a new treatment facility and demolishing the existing facility.”

  • Project name: Chokoloskee Master Pump Station

  • Amount: $1,000,000

  • Recipient: Everglades City

  • Justification: “The existing Master 1 & 2 pump station collects and re-pumps 100% of the wastewater from Chokoloskee Island. This pump station pumps directly into the City’s wastewater treatment facility. The pump station is located within feet of the Chokoloskee Bay and Everglades National Park, and only a few feet above the mean high water line. The pump station is in poor condition with advanced levels of corrosion in most mechanical and electrical systems, and with valves that are not operational. A failure of this pump station would result in a large wastewater spill to the surrounding sovereign waters of the State. Similarly, the surge water level experienced during hurricane storms can flood and cause a complete failure of the pump station. This project consists of replacing the pump station by installing a new wet well, mechanical, and electrical equipment. The new systems will be installed at a higher elevation and will be more resilient to corrosion, high surge water levels, and capable of pumping increased flow rates.”

  • Project name: Miami-Dade County Septic to Sewer Laterals

  • Amount: $750,000

  • Recipient: Miami-Dade County, Florida

  • Justification: The scope of this project will include the installation of public sewer laterals for residential properties abutting the sanitary sewer system. The laterals will be installed to incentivize private property owners to connect to the sanitary sewer system by reducing their costs to connect. The project will install laterals for up to 100 homes, which will be prioritized by parcel vulnerability to rising groundwater and a demonstration of a commitment by the property owner to connect to the sanitary sewer system. Installations would take place in the Doral and Sweetwater communities, within the Miami-Dade Water and Sewer Department’s sewer service area.

  • Project name: Miami-Dade County Safe Drinking Water Project

  • Amount: $1,000,000

  • Recipient: Miami-Dade County, Florida

  • Justification: “The project will include the design, construction, and management to extend water mains and connect up to 50 homes to the public water supply to replace contaminated private wells. The purpose is to provide safe drinking water to properties with contamination from PFAS, agricultural byproducts, and other substances.”

  • Project name: Collier County Sidewalk Project

  • Amount: $987,000

  • Recipient: Collier County, Florida

  • Justification: “This project is part of the comprehensive sidewalk plan for the southern area of the Immokalee Community. Phase 1 and 2 were completed in 2018 and 2021. The project consists of 6-foot-wide concrete sidewalks on both sides of each roadway, as well as drainage improvements associated with the sidewalks. This phase will further the goal to provide an interconnected sidewalk network to improve pedestrian and bicycle safety in this pedestrian-centric community.”

  • Project name: Clewiston Ventura Avenue Street Repair

  • Amount: $999,858

  • Recipient: City of Clewiston, Florida

  • Justification: “The City of Clewiston, Florida is seeking a Congressional Appropriation in the amount of $999,857.68 to provide funding to address the overall condition, safety and multimodal transportation utility of key arterial portions of Ventura Avenue. This is a critical transportation need for an important collector street strategically located near the City’s geographical center in the downtown core area.”

  • Project name: Hendry County Wastewater Infrastructure

  • Amount: $300,000

  • Recipient: Hendry County Board of County Commissioners

  • Justification: “This request is for funding of the construction and construction engineering inspection (CEI) services for a force main to and from Airglades Airport to the City of Clewiston’s existing wastewater treatment plant. This project would progress the last piece of a multi‐year, multi‐agency, multi‐million dollar investment that will spur economic development opportunities at Airglades Airport and the surrounding area. Additionally, the force main improvement project will protect public health and the regional environment by redirecting waste loads from the airport and additional developments to a higher‐level wastewater treatment facility in Clewiston and also decommissioning the Airglades Airport wastewater treatment plant.”

  • Project name: Hendry County Harlem Academy Upgrades

  • Amount: $300,000

  • Recipient: Hendry County Board of County Commissioners

  • Justification: “Hendry County needs funds to assist in the rehabilitation and improvement of the Harlem Academy in order to provide services to the Harlem community at large. Improving the facility will create a draw for prospective businesses to come in and create a safe space in the community to offer services such as childcare, health and wellness and youth development. This facility would be a benefit not only to the community of Harlem but also utilized and appreciated by the surrounding areas.”

  • Project name: Hendry County Cold Storage Facility

  • Amount: $48,000

  • Recipient: Hendry County Board of County Commissioners

  • Justification: “This project would be a major benefit for the county, which currently has no climate-controlled storage facilities to receive, stage or deliver emergency supplies. The need for this type of storage at the EOC was best highlighted during Hurricane Irma when the county had to enter into an agreement with a local storage facility to stage food and water during the recovery process. The lack of climate control reduces the shelf life of all emergency supplies. Most recently during COVID 19 logistic operations, the EOC had to stage medical PPE, supplies and food in EOC hallways and breakout rooms before they could ultimately be delivered to final destination. The lack of climate control storage reduces the shelf life of PPE and medical supplies.”

  • Project name: FIU obvervation system

  • Amount: $567,283

  • Recipient: Florida International University

  • Justification: “FIU will establish a uniquely capable observation system – the Aquarius Coral Reef Observatory - to monitor ocean temperature, water clarity, water chemistry, and ocean acidification. After the backbone of this system is in place, the monitoring station can be upgraded to include instrumentation for more advanced analyses, like using genetic fingerprinting to search for larvae of endangered species and sophisticated chemical sensors to sniff for signs of pollution events upstream in the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico. The Aquarius undersea laboratory already provides some of the necessary infrastructure to support a next generation automated data collection system that could supply continuous, real-time scientific data and sound and video streams. In addition to being incredibly valuable to scientists around the world, K-12 students will have access to datasets that can be manipulated to build higher-level analysis skills and video and audio streams to better understand complex ecological relationships between organisms.”

Rep. Frederica Wilson (D)

Total amount requested: $7.5 million

  • Project Name: Bahamian Museum of Arts and Culture

  • Amount: $2,200,000

  • Proposed Recipient: Thelma Gibson Health Initiative

  • Project Explanation, Purpose, and Justification: “The funding would create the Bahamian Arts, History, and Cultural Center that would serve the purpose of celebrating and recognizing the originally settled Bahamian community in Coconut Grove, Miami, and the original Afro-Bahamian culture, which is disappearing right in front of us. The creation of this center would bring about both an arts infusion and economic development engine to the community.”

  • Project Name: Boys and Girls Club in Miami Gardens

  • Amount Requested: $400,000

  • Proposed Recipient: Boys and Girls Clubs of Miami-Dade Inc.

  • Project Explanation, Purpose, and Justification: “The funding would create a Boys and Girls Club in Miami Gardens, which would operate at Skyway Elementary. This Boys and Girls Club would provide support to children at Skyway Elementary, Miami Gardens Elementary, North Gardens High School, Lake Stevens Middle School, Lakes Stevens Elementary, Barbara Hawkins Elementary, Miramar High School, Carol City Middle, and North County K-8 Center.”

  • Project Name: Broward Community and Family Health Centers, Inc. — Pediatric Dental Mobile Clinic Van Project

  • Amount Requested: $235,000

  • Proposed Recipient: Broward Community and Family Health Centers, Inc.

  • Project Explanation, Purpose, and Justification: “The funding would provide Broward Community and Family Health Centers, Inc. with a pediatric dental mobile clinic van. This mobile clinic van will provide direct dental services within the local communities and children would be offered expanded health services through winter and spring breaks and summer months.”

  • Project Name: City of North Miami Beach Drainage Improvement Project

  • Amount Requested: $1,141,038

  • Proposed Recipient: City of North Miami Beach

  • Project Explanation, Purpose, and Justification: “The funding would address critical stormwater water projects in the City of North Miami Beach, Florida.”

  • Project Name: City of West Park Drainage Improvement Project

  • Amount Requested: $400,000

  • Proposed Recipient: City of West Park

  • Project Explanation, Purpose, and Justification: “The funding would address critical stormwater water projects in the City of West Park, Florida.”

  • Project Name: Hollywood Police Department — Body-worn Cameras

  • Amount Requested: $1,701,895

  • Proposed Recipient: City of Hollywood

  • Project Explanation, Purpose, and Justification: “The funding would be used to place body worn cameras on the Hollywood Police Department’s police officers. The purpose is to increase the transparency of our local law enforcement in an effort to build trust and understanding within our communities.”

  • Project Name: Jessie Trice Community Health System — Pediatric Mobile Clinic Van Project

  • Amount Requested: $396,000

  • Proposed Recipient: Jessie Trice Community Health Systems Inc.

  • Project Explanation, Purpose, and Justification: “The funding would provide Jessie Trice Community Health Systems Inc. with two pediatric mobile clinic vans that will provide dental and expanded health services to children in medically underserved communities.”

  • Project Name: Opa-locka Gunshot Detection Violence Reduction Initiative

  • Amount Requested: $108,500

  • Proposed Recipient: The City of Opa-locka Police Department

  • Project Explanation, Purpose, and Justification: “The funding would be used to fund the Gunshot Detection Violence Reduction Initiative providing a wide-area system which uses networked sensors to detect and locate gunfire in near real-time. This initiative will provide the Opa-locka Police Department with a critical advantage in their efforts to reduce and prevent gun violence and improve officer safety.”

  • Project Name: Simonhoff Floral Park Improvements and COVID-19 Memorial

  • Amount Requested: $687,659

  • Proposed Recipient: City of Miami Parks and Recreation Department

  • Project Explanation, Purpose, and Justification: “The funding would be used for rehabilitation, construction, and improvements to Simonhoff Floral Park in the Liberty City area of Miami-Dade County. These improvements will include capital improvements, safety features, ADA features, and a memorial to the Miami-Dade County residents who have lost their lives to COVID-19.”

  • Project Name: United Way of Miami-Dade - Mission United Warrior Resiliency Project

  • Amount Requested: $249,108

  • Proposed Recipient: United Way of Miami-Dade Inc.

  • Project Explanation, Purpose, and Justification: “The funding would support Mission United. Mission United provides a comprehensive support network to help veterans and their families successfully transition from military service to become productive members of the Miami-Dade community. This support network includes workforce training that will help veterans become reskilled to providing them with a greater chance at job placement.”

Rep. Ted Deutch (D)

Total Amount Requested: $5.2 million

  • Project Name: Expansion & Enhancement of BCPS Peer Mentoring Programs

  • Requested Amount: $500,000

  • Project Sponsor: Broward County Public Schools (BCPS)

  • Explanation: “The funding would be used for expanding the successful BCPS peer mentoring programs, Mentoring Tomorrow’s Leaders (MTL) and Latinos in Action (LIA), to more than two dozen additional schools across the District, while also supporting the implementation of several new and innovative program.”

  • Project Name: Broward County Mental Health Diversion Project

  • Requested Amount: $562,385

  • Project Sponsor: Broward Sheriff’s Office

  • Explanation: “The funding would be used for a sustainable and comprehensive program to divert individuals with behavioral health, specifically mental health issues, from jail and the criminal justice system being jointly developed by Broward County State Attorney’s Office, in conjunction with the Broward Sheriff’s Office, the Public Defender’s Office, the Circuit Court of the Seventeenth Judicial Circuit, the Broward Behavioral Health Coalition, the Broward Bar Association and others.”

  • Project Name: Water Infrastructure Improvements Programs

  • Requested Amount: $900,000

  • Project Sponsor: Cities of Wilton Manors, Fort Lauderdale, & Oakland Park

  • Explanation: “The funding would be used to upgrade, improve and make more efficient portions of their wastewater systems that provide connectivity between their respective systems to deal with sea level rise, rising temperatures and extreme weather.”

  • Project Name: Sanborn Square Renovation Project

  • Requested Amount: $285,000

  • Project Sponsor: City of Boca Raton

  • Explanation: “The funding would be used for renovation of a downtown gathering square that serves as a free speech zone and open park space and is located across from the visitor’s center and historic town hall.”

  • Project Name: Stormwater Drainage

  • Requested Amount: $400,000

  • Project Sponsor: City of Coral Springs

  • Explanation: “The funding would be used to provide more storage for stormwater run-off which re-establishes swale storage and conveyance in the neighborhood to eliminate standing water and provides flood mitigation for up to a 100-year three day storm event.”

  • Project Name: Security Technology Enhancements

  • Requested Amount: $595,000

  • Project Sponsor: City of Deerfield Beach

  • Explanation: “The funding would be used to install a security measure known as a gunfire location, alert and analysis service to help fight our war on crime. Based on crime analysis, the City will be targeting a 4-square mile coverage area where there has been a significant spike in crime and shots fired incidents. Once a gunshot is detected, the solution calculates the position where the gun was fired and sends the data to a central server accessible by the Police Department.”

  • Project Name: Dixie Highway Corridor Improvements

  • Requested Amount: $600,000

  • Project Sponsor: City of Pompano Beach

  • Explanation: “The funding would be used to construct and install fencing and columns along the FEC railroad track on Dixie Highway from Atlantic Boulevard to Sample Road, approximately two miles between the cities of Pompano Beach and Deerfield Beach. The proposed project seeks to increase public safety by deterring activity that would result in dangerous encounters with oncoming trains.”

  • Project Name: The Independent Living- Workforce Readiness Program

  • Requested Amount: $300,000

  • Project Sponsor: Covenant House Florida

  • Explanation: “The funding would be used to enhance the reach and breadth of the Independent Living- Workforce Readiness Program in Central and South Florida, by serving a minimum of 200 youth experiencing homelessness and grow partnerships with local businesses to provide internships, apprenticeships, and employment to our youth.”

  • Project Name: Telemental Health Program to Improve Mental Well-Being

  • Requested Amount: $385,848

  • Project Sponsor: Rales Jewish Family Services

  • Explanation: “The funding would be used to provide Telemental Health services to residents of Palm Beach County via phone and virtual teleconference by licensed clinicians for residents across Palm Beach County to address mental illness and substance use with a goal of promoting emotional well-being to ensure self-sufficiency of individuals impacted by the socio-economic and emotional trauma impacts of the pandemic.”

  • Project Name: Broward County Suicide Prevention Coalition

  • Requested Amount: $646,762

  • Project Sponsor: United Way of Broward County

  • Explanation: “The funding would be used to decrease the number of suicides in Broward County through the implementation of multiple prevention strategies among a population of focus targeting males ages 40 to 64 and youth ages 12 to 20 — both populations of focus are inclusive of veterans, LGBT+, and homeless individuals.”

Rep. Lois Frankel (D)

Total Amount Requested: $6.7 million

  • Project Name: Aid to Victims of Domestic Abuse

  • Requested Amount: $1,000,000

  • Project Sponsor: Aid to Victims of Domestic Abuse (AVDA)

  • Justification: “Funding requested to expand their campus so they can provide further outreach and prevention programming to a broader part of the community and expand their assistance to domestic abuse survivors.”

  • Project Name: Boys and Girls Club STEM funding

  • Funding Requested: $511,886

  • Project Sponsor: Boys and Girls Club of Palm Beach County

  • Justification: “Funding request to put the College and Work Readiness Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) program in Boys and Girls Club Centers in Delray, Wellington, and Northwood. The program helps minority, low-income youth by preparing them to be an integral part of a skilled labor force throughout Palm Beach County.”

  • Project Name Caridad Center medical equipment

  • Amount Requested: $1,136,206

  • Project Sponsor: Caridad Center

  • Justification: “Funding request to provide for important infrastructure upgrades and the purchase of medical equipment.”

  • Project Name: Help for parents with early learning

  • Amount Requested: $125,000

  • Project Sponsor: Early Learning Coalition of Palm Beach County

  • Justification: “Funding request to support a parent-to-teacher workforce pipeline project to help parents looking to return to work and fill the staffing gap currently felt by early learning programs as a result of the pandemic’s impact on the child care industry.”

  • Project Name: Mental health funding for Ferd & Gladys Alpert Jewish Family & Children’s Service

  • Project Amount: $327,066

  • Project Sponsor: Ferd & Gladys Alpert Jewish Family & Children’s Service

  • Justification: “Funding request to help meet the growing mental health needs in our community and allow for the implementation of a new Electronic Health Record system that will provide the technological support needed to expand services further into the community.”

  • Project Name: Pace Center for Girls funding

  • Project Amount: $500,000

  • Project Sponsor: Pace Center for Girls

  • Justification: “Funding request to provide educational tools and upgrades to the Pace Center. Proposed enhancements include upgraded classrooms, technologies, instructional tools, computer lab, counseling spaces, and common areas for girls.”

  • Project Name: Recuperative Care Palm Beach County funding

  • Project Amount: $1,000,000

  • Project Sponsor: Recuperative Care Palm Beach County

  • Justification: “Funding request to help provide medical respite and acute and post-acute recuperative care for people experiencing homelessness when they are not ill enough to remain in a hospital but too ill to recover on the streets. This service would dramatically decrease the cost of care for homeless patients (including those with HIV) and would improve health outcomes for Medicaid/Medicare patients.”

  • Project Name: Palm Beach State College Respiratory Care Clinical Laboratory funding

  • Project Amount: $691,936

  • Project Sponsor: Palm Beach State College Respiratory Care Clinical Laboratory

  • Justification: “Funding requested to help expand the clinical laboratory to provide Respiratory Care students with better training opportunities through medical simulations to prepare them for the future workforce. Upon completion of the Associate in Science degree of Respiratory Care program, the graduates obtain their Registered Respiratory Therapists license.”

  • Project Name: The Lord’s Place funding

  • Amount: $988,000

  • Project Recipient: The Lord’s Place

  • Justification: “Funding requested to renovate elements of the Family Campus with apartments, community center, and a youth center that is called home by 120 (including 75 children) people at any given time. Since 1983, The Lord’s Place has assisted thousands of families experiencing homelessness and that challenge has only grown due to the impact of the pandemic.”

  • Project Name: United Way of Palm Beach County funding

  • Project Amount: $500,000

  • Project Sponsor: United Way of Palm Beach County

  • Justification: “Funding requested to jumpstart the MISSION UNITED veterans program to help with affordable housing support, employment services, education, legal assistance, health care, and other services. This initiative would serve those who have served and sacrificed for our country through their military service by collaborating with veteran nonprofit agencies providing direct services to the almost 100,000 veterans and families in Palm Beach County.”

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