Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart

Representing the 25th District of FLORIDA

Diaz-Balart Delivers Another Year of Record Level Investment in Infrastructure and Housing

Feb 14, 2019
Press Release

WASHINGTON ­­– Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart (FL-25) issued the following statement after the passage of the remainder of the FY2019 funding bills. Diaz-Balart, who serves as the top Republican on the Committee on House Appropriations Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Subcommittee, put this bill together as Chairman of the Subcommittee last Congress in collaboration with his Democratic counterpart, Congressman David Price.

“Last year, our nation saw historic levels of funding to revitalize and repair our nation’s aging infrastructure. This year, we further that investment and build on the progress we made towards improving our roadways, bridges, airports, transit systems, and for the first time, our seaports. As the top Republican of the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Subcommittee, I am proud of this legislation, which funds vital infrastructure and housing programs. I am particularly proud of the nearly $300 million we have included specifically to improve our nation’s seaports. Over the past year I heard from so many port authorities in Florida and across the nation on the need for a dedicated port funding pool. For the first time, the legislation delivers just that, and will have a direct benefit on our state, and our local ports. $93 million will go towards the top 15 container ports, which includes PortMiami and Port Everglades, with priority given to projects which address a critical issue facing both ports – fumigation fees. I will continue to be a champion for our ports and look forward to building on this program in the future.

“Beyond ports, this bill continues the strong levels of funding for BUILD grants, Capital Investment Grants, and Airports and Highway Grants, allowing localities like those in Collier, Hendry, and Miami-Dade Counties to compete for federal money to upgrade and expand their facilities. In fact, our area has already reaped the benefits of these programs in the previous year, and I am confident we will continue to see investments made in our communities this year. Over $800 million is included for Transit Infrastructure Grants, including $350 million for Bus and Bus Facilities Grants that support our local public bus systems. Again, Miami-Dade County received two grants from this program last year and will hopefully see further dollars in the coming year.

“In housing, the bill prioritizes funding for our most vulnerable populations, helping the elderly, disabled individuals, veterans, and those living with HIV/AIDS. Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) and the Home Investment Partnership Program, which allow municipalities to expand access to affordable housing, continue to see strong funding levels. I recognize the importance of ensuring our neediest individuals receive the housing and care they need, and I will continue to support these programs.  

“In addition to my housing and infrastructure priorities, the legislation also contains a number of items critical to Southern Florida. This funding package includes $37.5 billion to help small business owners through the Small Business Administration’s 7(a) and 504 loan programs, supporting the main street businesses that are the backbone of our communities. Citrus greening continues to be a significant issue for Florida’s iconic crop, and $1.01 billion is included to help combat it and other invasive species that hurt farmers, ranchers, and growers.

“The United States also reaffirms its commitment to one of our strongest allies, Israel, by fully funding the Memorandum of Understanding, bolstering its self-defense and security. After the devastating algal blooms that hurt Florida’s water supply and tourism industry, the bill provides robust funding to study these harmful blooms and mitigation efforts to allow for better response, and preparedness against future outbreaks. The bill includes $9 billion for anti-terrorism programs, international trafficking prevention, the Countering Russian Influence Fund, and other key national security efforts.

“I congratulate Ranking Member Granger and Chairwoman Lowey for their tireless work on this bill. It is because of their willingness to negotiate in good faith that we were able to reach this bipartisan agreement. I look forward to continue working with them and our Appropriations colleagues as we begin the FY2020 process, to fund critical programs families rely on.”

As the top Republican on the House Appropriations Committee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Subcommittee, Diaz-Balart was able to secure the following funding:

  • For the first time ever, a dedicated pot of money specifically for seaports
    $293 million is provided for infrastructure improvement projects
    • Of this, $93 million is available for the top 15 container ports, which includes PortMiami, Port Everglades, and the Port of Jacksonville
    • Priority is given to infrastructure projects that construct fumigation treatment facilities, which will help ports such as PortMiami
  • $3.25 billion for highway grants which goes directly to the states
  • $900 million for the Department of Transportation’s BUILD grant program helping localities fund infrastructure they might not be able to otherwise without federal dollars
  • $1 billion for NextGen investments to modernize air traffic control
  • $500 million for airport infrastructure grants
  • $255 million for Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements grants which will improve the safety, efficiency, and reliability of passenger and freight rail systems
  • $700 million for transit infrastructure grants, including $350 million for bus and bus facilities grants
  • $2.55 billion for Capital Investment Grants, which provides grant funding for major transit capital investments that are planned and operated by local communities
  • $3.3 billion for Community Development Block Grants (CDBG)
  • $1.25 billion for the HOME Investment Partnerships Program, which provides incentives for private sector and non-profit development of affordable housing
  • $22.5 billion in public housing vouchers, helping needy populations including the elderly, disabled, and veterans
  • $2.636 billion for Homeless Assistance Grants
  • $393 million for housing for persons living with HIV/AIDS
  • $678 million for Housing for the Elderly
  • $184 million for Housing for Persons with Disabilities

As a senior member of the House Appropriations Committee, Diaz-Balart worked with his colleagues to also secure the following funding in the fiscal year 2019 package:  

Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies

  • $12 million to combat harmful algal blooms, including:
    • $1 million in competitive grants, with encouragement to utilize a portion of these funds to address harmful algal blooms along the Gulf Coast of Florida
    • $5 million within the Coastal Science and Assessment program to determine and mitigate the impact of harmful algal blooms
    • $5 million within EPA to investigate health effects from exposure to harmful algal blooms, and to develop methods to monitor, characterize, and predict blooms for early action
    • $819,000 within the National Water Quality program to monitor, model, and forecast the occurrence of harmful algal blooms and algal toxins in consultation with State, local, and tribal partners
    • $200,000 under the United States Geological Survey to better understand mechanisms that result in toxins being present in harmful algal blooms
    • Language encouraging the EPA to fund research grants that help promote scientific progress towards preventing and controlling harmful algal blooms
  • $54 million expected for the continued restoration of the Everglades
  • $3.2 million for the South Florida program, an increase of $1.5 million
    • Funding for water quality and seagrass monitoring, as well as to monitor coral health
  • Language and funding to support the inclusion of Latino contributions in Smithsonian Institute programs, exhibitions, collections, and public outreach
  • $465 million for the Payment in Lieu of Taxes program, which Collier County is the largest recipient in Florida of
  • $68 million to support critical water infrastructure projects through the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA)

Agriculture

  • $1.01 billion for the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Services to combat plant and animal pests and diseases, including citrus greening
  • $3.16 billion for agricultural research
  • $819 million for Natural Resources Conservation Services
  • $3.64 billion for rural development
    • $625 million for infrastructure investments in Rural America
  • $73.477 billion for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)

State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs

  • $418 million for Colombia
  • $528 million for Central America
  • $17.5 under Economic Support Fund for programs to promote democracy and the rule of law in Venezuela
  • $3.3 billion for Israel, fulfilling the U.S. commitment under the Memorandum of Understanding
  • $275 million for the Countering Russian Influence Fund
  • $1.37 billion for the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)

Financial Services and General Government

  • $250 million to support financial institutions in low-income communities through the Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) Fund
  • $3 million for CDFIs to provide technical and financial assistance to individuals with disabilities
  • $37.5 billion to help small business owners through the Small Business Administration’s 7(a) and 504 loan programs
  • $131 million to support entrepreneurs through Small Business Development Centers

Homeland Security

  • $4.9 billion for airport security through the Transportation Security Administration (TSA)
  • $14.9 billion for the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP)
    • $100 million for new border security technology
    • $77 million for opioid detection equipment to better help CBP officers stop the flow of drugs into our country
  • $16.6 billion for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)
    • $12 billion for disaster relief
    • $262.5 million for FEMA Flood Hazard Mapping
    • $250 million for pre-disaster mitigation fund

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