© 2024 WLRN
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

U.S: Transportation secretary touts Biden's infrastructure investments on South Florida trip

A man in a suit steps off a train as he smiles at someone he is about to shake hands with.
Julia Cooper/WLRN
U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg steps off the Brightline train in Fort Lauderdale and moves to shake hands with Fort Lauderdale Mayor Dean Trantalis on Tuesday, Oct. 17, 2022.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg visited South Florida Tuesday to highlight the billions of federal dollars being invested in the region's infrastructure and rail projects as part of two-day trip to the region.

The money comes from President Biden's $1.2 trillion Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which Congress approved nearly two years ago.

The federal funds are being spent over five years to address longstanding issues with the country’s infrastructure, stimulate economic growth, create jobs, and support sustainable clean energy initiative.

One of the largest investments in South Florida was $1 billion to help finalize a backlog of Everglades restoration projects. The money got slipped into the $1 trillion infrastructure bill.

In promoting the infrastructure funding, Buttigieg is reminding voters of efforts by Biden to produce high-paying jobs and improve an economy dragged down by high inflation. The president is running for re-election next year.

On Tuesday, Buttigieg's first stop was West Palm Beach, where he delivered remarks on the state of transportation at the Forum Club of the Palm Beaches.

He told reporters after the speech that safety is a priority as the Biden administration looks ahead at expanding passenger rail services across the country.

READ MORE: Brightline gets $25 million federal grant to improve safety measures after spate of deaths

Railroad safety has become a concern nationwide since last February when a Norfolk Southern train derailed in Ohio and caught fire after spilling hazardous chemicals.

Buttigieg then hopped aboard a high-speed Brightline train and headed to Fort Lauderdale, where he met with Brightline executives and workers. Fort Lauderdale Mayor Dean Trantalis also was on hand to greet him.

Buttigieg told reporters at a press conference he expects to see many more South Florida transportation projects receive funding under the infrastructure law.

About $8.1 billion has been spent on projects in Florida as of February, according to the White House.

Last year, $15.4 million was awarded for the Broward County Sealed Corridor Project through the Railroad Crossing Elimination Grant Program to address safety along the freight rail corridor shared with Brightline's intercity passenger rail service.

"We’re only in the second year of the five year life of President Biden’s infrastructure law and we’re making the most of every one of those programs and a lot of that benefit is coming right to this area," Buttigieg said during his time in Fort Lauderdale.

Buttigieg said he’s optimistic the infrastructure improvements will help mitigate the high cost of living across the region. South Florida is one of the nation’s most expensive regions and has among the country’s highest inflation rates.

The secretary is scheduled to meet with Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava at PortMiami Wednesday to highlight how the infrastructure law is funding historic investments in ports.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

Julia Cooper reports on all things Florida Keys and South Dade for WLRN.
Gerard Albert III covers Broward County. He is a former WLRN intern who graduated from Florida International University. He can be reached atgalbert@wlrnnews.org
More On This Topic