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Florida’s infrastructure graded a ‘C’ by civil engineers

The American Society of Civil Engineers says the state's funding is only for maintenance and repairs. Florida needs federal funding for lasting change.

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Every four years, Florida gets a score for its infrastructure. The latest report was delayed by the pandemic, but the state held its score.

"Our last report card was in 2016. We were able to maintain our grade of 'C'," Kathleen Ruvarac, the Chair for the State's Assessment from the American Society of Civil Engineers, said.

She helped write the report and says the biggest improvements made were in transportation.

"We have seen additional funding in transportation sectors. Aviation in our major airports have had major upgrades to increase capacity, and not only with gates, but people movers," Ruvarac said.

But there are places where the state struggled. In addition to our levees and dams, schools got a D grade as well.

"Some of the problems with our schools are that they are aging and that the rural communities cannot compete and keep up with the additional capacity," Ruvarac said.

Meanwhile, FDOT continues making changes to Florida roads and bridges, adding to the improvement statewide, making significant increases in funding for the state's roads system. All with the hope the changes will withstand climate change.

"We have extreme weather events and of course they're unpredictable," Ruvarac said. "Whether or not it's a hurricane or just heavy rainfall, it not only affects our coastlines and erosion and the protection of our infrastructure along our coasts, our, you know, businesses, our hotels, our residences, our roads, but also the drinking water and our sanitary system."

RELATED: DeSantis: St. Pete Beach to receive $2 million from state to complete wastewater system upgrades

Ruvac says Governor Ron DeSantis just budgeted an additional $500 million for coastal resilience to help, but the state's funding is only for maintenance and repairs.

"I think that in order to address the additional capacity needs, that we can hope to receive federal funding," Ruvarac said. 

The group says money from President Joe Biden's infrastructure bill will help create lasting change.

"Having an additional $14 billion in our state bank would definitely help towards a lot of the problems that we have," Ruvarac said. 

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