In a final move before stepping down as chairman of the U.S. House Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Appropriations Subcommittee, Representative Mario Diaz-Balart of South Florida ensured that around $10 million of U.S. Department of Transportation funds are appropriated to Miami Dade County. With the incoming Democratic House, Diaz-Balart’s run as chair is coming to an end.He made the announcement this week, saying that $9.5 million in a Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development grant from the department was coming to Miami Dade County.
Commenting on the matter, Diaz-Balart informed that “As House Appropriations Transportation Subcommittee chairman, I am grateful to be in a position to bring much-needed dollars home. For years, I have told the county that I am willing and able to help fund their transit needs, once a viable plan had been submitted. To their credit the county has finally taken real, tangible steps forward with the SMART Plan over the last several months, and I commend their progress. As the county continues to work with DOT, specifically the Federal Transit Administration, on the project development phase of the South Corridor Rapid Transit Project, I stand ready to assist in any way possible.”
Diaz-Balart detailed that “True to my word, in my working with the Administration and with the county’s application moving forward at DOT, here is the first installment of federal dollars to compliment the implementation of the SMART Plan. The BUILD grant for Miami-Dade County will help support the continued growth and expansion of the South-Dade Transitway corridor. Specifically, the grant will help increase capacity at two park-and-ride facilities along the corridor, directly supporting the County TPO’s vote to move toward bus-rapid transit. Expanding transit in our community is critical to alleviating the traffic and gridlock that we face daily, and I am grateful for these much-needed dollars.”
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Finally, he thanked U.S. Secretary of Transportation, Elaine Chao, for her help, saying that Chao has continued “to invest in our community’s transportation sector, and for providing the county with opportunities to improve and upgrade our infrastructure. I look forward to continue working with her to expand Southern Florida’s transit systems and will keep fighting for the funds necessary to do so.”