Debbie Wasserman Schultz: Appropriations Bill Include Funds to Build New Courthouse in Ft. Lauderdale

U.S. Rep Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., announced that the 2023 Appropriations bills released last week include an additional $55 million in funds needed for the construction of the new federal courthouse in Ft. Lauderdale, as well as more than $40 million in critical local projects secured by the congresswoman.

The courthouse and other local funding projects were included in the draft omnibus after intense bipartisan, bicameral negotiations between the House and Senate.

“The scales of federal justice in our community operate under immense space constraints and unsafe conditions, and I am so proud to help deliver the $55 million needed to begin work and avoid further delays on a brand new federal courthouse,” said Wasserman Schultz. “This is significant and positive news for all our citizens who rely upon a swift and seamless federal court system, and especially for those who valiantly move these wheels of justice. Combined with all the other critical local funding needs that this omnibus spending plan includes, I am so thankful and very proud that it will make life better for millions of people in South Florida and Broward County in the next year.”

Among the other projects secured by the congresswoman in the Omnibus include:

$500,000 for the University of Miami to purchase a molecular sequencing platform to expand surveillance of infectious diseases in Florida that will provide an early warning system to alert to the presence of new variants of concern in the population.

$11 million for Florida International University to establish new pilot coastal subsurface monitoring systems in South Florida vulnerable to near-shore subsurface water and saltwater risks to infrastructure. This will provide more sea level rise data, and provide early warning of subsurface conditions so cities can plan, adapt, and avoid major infrastructure failures.

$2.5 million for the City of Sunrise to construct an intermodal public transfer station that will facilitate multiple modes of transportation through the incorporation of bike and scooter rentals, electric charging stations, and community bus stops.

$1.5 million for the David Posnack Jewish Community Center to increase community-based employment opportunities for individuals with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities by operating a food truck that will equip adults with IDD with employability skills and job opportunities as well as inclusion and community partnership.

$900,000 for the Promise Fund of Florida Breast and Cervical Screening and Cancer Program to expand mammography, ultrasound, and cervical health services at the Promise Fund’s Women’s Health Centers in South Florida.

$1.7 million for the Miami Project to Cure Paralysis for research, new treatments and therapies for those who have sustained traumatic brain and spinal cord injuries.

$800,000 for the Town of Davie to purchase body-worn cameras for the police department.

$3.8 million for Nova Southeastern University to deploy research resources across scientific disciplines to quickly address disease etiology of stony coral tissue loss disease.

$3.8 million for the City of Hollywood to upgrade their drinking water infrastructure.

$2 million for Feeding South Florida for a mobile market and kitchen that makes free and low-cost healthy and nutritious foods available to low-income Broward County families.

$1.5 million for the City of Hallandale Beach to build an all-Electric Bus Fleet and EV Transit Parking and Charging Facility, to reduce health impacts resulting from pollution.

$525,000 for Broward County Public Schools which will be used to support program expansion, professional development, and acquisition of technological equipment (computers, 3D printers, software, etc.) to provide pathways in visual art and design to strengthen spatial reasoning and STEM success.

$600,000 for the Town of Southwest Ranches to reduce stormwater staging on both Griffin Road and Dykes Road, and to significantly improve water quality by reducing the amount of nutrients that get introduced into the primary and secondary canals.

$5 million for the Broward Metropolitan Planning Organization to provide multimodal improvements and improve travel along University Drive between North of Johnson Street to South of Stirling Street within Pembroke Pines, Hollywood and the Town of Davie.

$2.5 million for NSU to purchase and implement the equipment and infrastructure needed for high-performance computing capabilities and NIST 800-171 compliance.

The United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida is one of the largest and busiest federal judicial districts in the country. Its jurisdiction covers 15,000 square miles and serves more than 6 million Floridians, and sees nearly 10,000 civil cases filed there annually. The current 40-year-old federal courthouse is plagued by mold, chronic roof leaks and flooding, and has significant space constraints, and a $20 million maintenance backlog.

Further construction delays on a new courthouse will require Congress to spend more to repair the old courthouse. In 2018, Congress appropriated $190 million for the new 255,000-gross-square-foot federal courthouse, which was meant to cover the entirety of the project, including site procurement, building design, and construction. However, cost proposals submitted in August are 34 percent higher than the appropriated FY18 construction budget of $147 million. The steep escalation of construction costs in Florida led to the need for additional funding.

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