TARPON SPRINGS, Fla. – Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a bill Wednesday afternoon establishing a funding program that will provide grants to communities for local resiliency projects addressing flooding.
SB 1954 creates the resilient Florida grant program, which will fund local projects throughout the state. DeSantis said this program will be administered by the Department of Environmental Protection to fund $100 million worth of infrastructure projects every year.
“Local governments and local communities understand the impacts that flooding can have on their communities,” the governor said during a news conference in Tarpon Springs. ”And this new grant program will allow the state to partner with those local governments in our shared mission to address coastal resiliency and the protection of our coastal communities, infrastructure and residents.”
In conjunction with SB 1954, DeSantis said another bill called SB 2512, which has not yet been signed, will also redirect funds to Florida’s water sustainability and accountability trust fund.
“This is a really significant amount of resources. We’re really putting our money where our mouth is when it comes to protecting the state of Florida,” he said.
Florida House Speaker Chris Sprowls compared significant flooding in the state to knowing when hurricanes will happen.
“The question is where will they happen and how bad will they be. And while we look forward and we always plan for these disasters, so too we must plan for resiliency and coastal flooding throughout our state,” Sprowls said.
He said this bill will help specific needs in communities and will allow “accurate reflections” to help planning and infrastructure needs.
This press conference comes one day after DeSantis issued an emergency order, waiving size and weight restrictions to transport gasoline, diesel fuel and jet fuel.
Many drivers are rushing to the pumps in fear of a gas shortage tied to the Colonial Pipeline closure. The order is in response to the Colonial Pipeline ransomware attack, forcing the pipeline to temporarily halt operations Friday to contain the hack.
During the Tarpon Springs news conference, DeSantis urged Floridians to not hoard fuel.
“I think there is an issue of, you do see shortages, but... that’s compounded with some panic buying,” he said. “And I think what we would just say is look, if you need gas get it, but you don’t need to be hoarding it right now, that’s going to make it worse.”