Florida falls down in securing stimulus money

July 7th, 2009 by

My Fox Tampabay
Tampa – Even with soaring unemployment and record foreclosures, Florida ranks dead last in securing federal stimulus dollars.

Some other states are scoring double—even triple—the Sunshine State’s share of the half-billion-dollar federal handout.

“What this shows is that Florida needs to be more aggressive about collecting this money from the federal government,” said Robert Weissert of Florida TaxWatch.

Stimulus spending breaks down to $504.61 per person in Florida, according to an analysis by The Wall Street Journal.

Per capita spending is double that in the Dakotas and Wyoming; Alaska’s piece of the stimulus pie is triple Florida’s.

Governor Charlie Crist’s office estimates the state will receive more than $13 billion in stimulus fund over three years.

Weissert said the state’s congressional delegation is to blame for Florida’s poor showing.

He said representatives are not being aggressive enough winning federal money for Florida.

“For about six to seven years now, we have been a donor state, actually sending more per capita to Washington in federal taxes than we collect back,” he said. “We’re actually sending money off to other states.”

Even with Florida’s low per-capita stimulus spending, the Tampa Bay area will gain some notable projects, costing $246 million.

“That’s a lot of money. We’re really excited about it,” said Department of Transportation spokesperson Kris Carson.

Carson said the largest project, requiring $104 million in recovery funds, is a new roadway linking Interstate Four and the Selmon Crosstown Expressway.

“The connector project is literally the largest project that the Tampa Bay area will have ever seen to date,” she said.

Carson said construction could begin as early as next year, with bidding beginning in September.

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