Southwest Florida gets $35.9 million in funding for local projects from state
After the House released its first budget proposal during the last legislative session, state Sen. Kathleen Passidomo panicked. Several Southwest Florida projects, including a bridge in Hendry County and a fire station in Marco Island, were not included.
So she called her colleagues in the House to help her out. While many House members went home after legislative leaders worked out the budget in secret, freshman Reps. Byron Donalds and Bob Rommel stayed to advocate for Southwest Florida priorities.
“They spent the entire weekend, but those guys were in the appropriations suite making sure their projects were taken care of,” said House budget chief Carlos Trujillo, R-Miami. “They had a very very good session, especially for freshmen not knowing the process.”
Southwest Florida lawmakers secured $52.6 million for local projects in the budget they approved May 8. An additional $106 million in funding went to the C-43 reservoir as part of the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan. For a rural lands project important to the region that buys development rights from ranchers to keep natural areas open, lawmakers budgeted $10 million.
It was no small feat, given a new budget process that forced House members to put their names next to every local request.