TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Earlier this week, Secretary Perdue sent the US Department of Transportation a letter turning down $320 million in federal funds earmarked in the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) to help improve air quality and reduce congestion in our roadways. In response to FDOT’s irresponsible politicization of public funds, Sierra Club Florida sent a letter to Secretary Jared Perdue urging him to accept these unprecedented investments into our state and to stop playing politics with our economy and air quality.
Florida currently has some of the worst traffic congestion in the nation, but the rejection of hundreds of millions of infrastructure investments in the state isn’t new. Earlier this year, Governor DeSantis rejected $346 million that would have directly benefited working-class Floridians through rebates. These attacks on measures to improve air quality are nothing new either. In July, DeSantis vetoed a bipartisan bill that would have saved taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars and improved air quality by encouraging local governments to purchase electric vehicles.
In response to FDOT’s rejection of these vital funds, Sierra Club Florida Chapter Director Susannah Randolph said, “By politicizing public funds, Secretary Perdue and Governor DeSantis have forced taxpayers to foot multi-million dollar bills that were already paid for. Our air quality and economy should be higher priorities for the Governor and his administration.“
Sierra Club Florida Organizing Manager Brooke Alexander-Goss said, “FDOT is working against their own mission ‘to provide a safe transportation system that ensures the mobility of people and goods, enhances economic prosperity, and preserves the quality of our environment and communities.’ The rejection of these vital funds means a loss of savings and financial benefits to Floridians and will put Florida even further behind other states when it comes to transportation efficiency and infrastructure improvements.”